Public Television organizes panel on DACA, aims at productive conversations

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) People packed into a conference room at the Herret Center on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls on Wednesday to hear a political conversation.

The panelists, moderator and the crowd aimed at making the conversation productive and civil.

“Have conversations that bring some sort of shared issues together,” said Ron Pisaneschi, the general manager at Idaho Public Television.

IPTV put on the forum that centered around a conversation about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in the Magic Valley. It was part of a PBS project called "American Creed". The project aims at productive political conversations in a divisive time, and hopefully finding some common ground.

“Begin to have dialogue,” Pisaneschi said.

Marcia Franklin, an IPTV producer, moderated the panel discussion. Rep. Lance Clow from Twin Falls, associate dean of extended studies at CSI Cesar Perez, and DACA recipient and CSI student Laura Prado were panelists.

Perez hoped the panel would demonstrate respectful and insightful discussions.

“A lot of inclusiveness, a lot of understanding, a lot of respect and at the end of the day knowing that this is our country, on both ends, both DACA and those that were born here,” Perez said. “I think there’s a lot to be accomplished from that inclusiveness.”

Perez’s family moved to Jackpot, Nevada, from Mexico in the early '80s. He became a U.S. citizen in the early 2000s.

He said a discussion on DACA is relevant to this area because of people like himself and people like Prado, who moved to Jerome as a young child and went on to be valedictorian at Jerome High School.

“Obviously it’s a controversial issue out there, but I’m really looking forward to how we work together as a community to make this more of a common theme and bridging communities together,” Perez said.

Perez and Clow have had discussions like this in the past. Clow shared as part of the panel that he has been having periodic meetings with Hispanic leaders and people in his district, like Perez, to talk about issues important to them.

Pisaneschi said that more than 150 people pre-registered for the event. The "American Creed" PBS documentary is scheduled to air on Feb. 27.

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