Can both sides of the immigration debate unite for civil dialogue? – Press Enterprise – California News

Can both sides of the immigration debate unite for civil dialogue? – Press Enterprise – California News

One woman doesn’t understand why some people think she’s a racist just because she supports increased immigration enforcement.

A man whose ancestors immigrated from Ireland opposes a Mexican border wall but believes undocumented immigrants who commit felonies should be deported.

A woman who crossed the border illegally from Mexico doesn’t understand why immigrants who work hard and pay taxes aren’t valued here.

At a time when America’s political landscape has become increasingly polarized, is there any way that such strangers can have have a civil conversation about immigration?

It may sound unlikely, but facilitating such a conversation is the goal of Spaceship Media, a group whose aim is to use journalism to bridge divides and reduce polarization. Media partners in the California Immigration Conversation Project include the Bay Area News Group, Southern California News Group and Univision, a Spanish-language TV network.

Spaceship Media uses a technique they developed called “dialogue journalism.” The goal is to foster productive discussions between people with starkly opposing views.

As part of the project, more than 60 people from Southern California and Northern California will be members of a closed Facebook group called “Talking Across Borders.” Roughly half of the group favors more immigration enforcement, about half oppose it, and a few represent the middle ground.

During the month-long discussion, participants will be able to suggest topics and questions for the group to address. The effort will be closely moderated by Spaceship Media founders Eve Pearlman and Jeremy Hay, both journalists who will also help prompt the…

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