Classes offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arkansas range from ancient history to current events, and nothing could be more current than immigration law, a topic in the news multiple times a day.
Nathan Bogart, a practicing immigration attorney in Fayetteville since 2010, will teach “A Legal Look at Immigration” from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Drake Airfield, 4500 S. School Ave., Fayetteville. Registration for this and other OLLI classes may be done by visiting the website or calling 479-575-4545.
Bogart dates his interest in immigration back to time he spent in Spain as a child. He received the equivalent of a lawful permanent residence permit there.
“I was fascinated with how the system worked, how some people were viewed favorably and allowed to stay and others were not,” he said. “I have always been a closet sociologist. I’m interested in how groups of people mix, how cultures mix.”
This will be Bogart’s first time to teach a course for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute but he has made numerous presentations to community groups and other lawyers. OLLI is a member-driven, nonprofit organization based in the College of Education and Health Professions. It provides opportunities to seasoned adults to share intellectual interests, make new friends, explore cultural topics and other thought-provoking subjects, and exchange ideas with peers.
In class, Bogart will cover inadmissibility versus deportability, family-based procedures, employment proceedings, asylum and refugees, undocumented immigrants and removal proceedings.
“My goal is for people to think more deeply on the topic,” he said. “Immigration is such an emotional issue. I have always struggled to understand emotions on either side. Every country has a system to regulate who comes into the country. I want people to stop and think, why do we have the system we have? Is my emotional reaction to the system appropriate?”
Some politicians play to fear, making people afraid of immigrants, Bogart said, and he encourages people to try to look beyond their fear and consider the issues rationally.
It is also important for people to have a good understanding of immigration law because immigration touches every aspect of society, he said.
“We live in a region where we have seen that perfectly,” Bogart said. “Twenty years ago, Northwest Arkansas looked completely different and a lot of that is due to immigration, although some of it is from people coming here from other places in the U.S.
“Immigrants have completely reshaped everything here,” he continued, “from the economy to the languages we hear when we are out taking care of our daily business and the food we eat.”
Immigration law is complicated, second only to the tax code, Bogart said.
“There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all situation, and both extremes on the issue tend to want to apply one-size-fits-all but it just doesn’t work,” he said.
Teaching others helps him expand his thinking on the issues and improve his approach to topics the next time, Bogart said.
To see other classes offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, visit the spring course catalog online.