We need to have a conversation about one of the issues that most confronts and divides Americans in the era of President Donald Trump: immigration.
For decades, the debate over who can remain in the United States without being born here has divided the country into two broad groups: on the one hand, those who advocate narrower immigration policies and greater border protection, and, on the other hand, those who seek the legalization of undocumented immigrants broader eligibility for legal immigrants.
Separated by ideology, these people often have different sources of information, something that can contribution to divisions as well as misinformation.
Sitting down to talk to someone who thinks differently may sometimes seem impossible: the result is often a tense and counterproductive discussion. Nowhere more so that on social networks, where the protection of behind behind a screen, as well as the possibility of anonymity, usually brings out the worst and most vulgar in those joining the conversation.
That's why Univision News, along with Bay Area News Group and Southern California News Group, has joined a unique project launched Sunday by the group Spaceship Media, whose mission is to use journalism to encourage dialogue.
The California Immigration Conversation Project, will be a dynamic, month-long chat group bringing together more than 60 people, half sympathetic to tough immigration policies and the other half in favor of undocumented immigrants.
"We hope to create a meaningful civic dialogue on a complicated and divisive issue that the public usually uses to fight," said Jeremy Hay, co-founder of Spaceship Media. "We believe that by bringing people together and supporting them in their conversation, we can have a positive impact on national discourse."
The group will be made up of residents of California, a state transformed by immigration, who promise to be willing to listen honestly and with an open mind to those who do not think like them.
Why California? Firstly, because it is the state with the largest number of undocumented people in the whole country. Secondly, because it has been the most defiant against President Trump's immigration policies. And lastly, because it is one of the main centers of immigration debate in the United States.
"We believe that journalists, as watch dogs of the public good, have a key role in pushing and contributing to discussion of the issues and policies that matter most to us as a country," said Eve Pearlman, co-founder of Spaceship Media.
For several weeks, we will try to respond - through open and courteous conversation among these volunteers - several of the questions facing Americans: How can we change the U.S. immigration system? What can we agree about? What kind of nation do we want to be?
Univision News will provide weekly updates on this conversation at Univision News and at UnivisionNoticias.com.