O’Maley Students Debate Immigration Reform

Almost eighty O’Maley Innovation Middle School students traveled Monday to Boston to debate immigration reform.

They were visiting the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate to learn the ins and outs of the entire Senate process. The institute’s Senate Immersion Module program allows students to engage in the legislative process by participating in hearings, committee mark-ups, and floor debates that culminate in a final vote on legislation inside the Institute’s full-scale replica U.S Senate Chamber.

The particular bill students focused on was the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. It would address several parts of providing a pathway to citizenship, including improvements to the guest worker program.

“We put together an eight-week civics course as part of our world history course,” said Hugo Smith, an eighth-grade social studies teacher who led the trip. “This (SIM visit) allows our kids to live the role of a senator temporarily and to see the civics in action.”

At the completion of the program, the student senators from O’Maley approved the policies by a vote of 53-23.

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