May 8, 2008

Gown, Town and Globe to Converge May 22 at JC

During my News Editing class (COMM 352) I tried to get my students to think about the links between the campus, the local community, the nation and the world.

The obvious connection is the diverse nature of the GMU community and the diversity in Fairfax County that comes from immigration.

Too often the issue of immigration is only touched on as a link in a few individual situations. Well not the link is much stronger.

The Virginia State Immigration Commission will meet to discuss the impact of immigration on the commonwealth at a meeting to be held in the Johnson Center May 22.

If only this was being held during the term. I would have required all my students to attend and report on it.


Immigration commission to meet in Fairfax

Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger
Published: May 8, 2008

The Virginia Commission on Immigration needs to figure out the effects immigration has on the commonwealth.

To do that, the commission will hold five community meetings across the state in coming months to get the public's input on the issue, said Matt Gross of the Virginia Department of Social Services.

The first of the meetings will be May 22 at the Johnson Center Cinema at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Gross said.

People who wish to offer three-minute comments can sign up at 1 p.m. for the 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. sessions.

Gross said the commission expects good attendance at the meetings. "We are trying to stress that we ask people to keep their comments to three minutes," Gross said.

The commission is tasked with studying, reporting and making recommendations on the costs and benefits immigration issues have on local education, health care, law enforcement, services and economies across the state.

"They really just want to hear what the public has to say and get a flavor for how the regions might vary," Gross said of the commissioners.

Gross said the commission will be examining all facets of immigration, unlike the Illegal Immigration Task Force which recently looked at illegal immigration and crime.

"This commission will be looking at everything else," Gross said.

"Really a large part of the immigrant population is here legally," he said. "They still create new challenges that the commonwealth has to face regardless of their legal status. We would like to focus on immigration as a whole."

Written comments can be sent to or mailed to Virginia Commission on Immigration, c/o Matt Gross, 7 North Eighth St., 6th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219 by Sept. 30.

The other meetings will be in Roanoke in June, Norfolk in July, Harrisonburg in August and Richmond in September.

Del. Jackson Miller, R-Manassas, is co-chair the commission which was created by legislation introduced by Del. Robert G. "Bob" Marshall, R-Prince William.

State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, is the chairman of the commission.

For more information visit

Keith Walker can be reached at 703-369-6751.

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