BOSTON (CBS) – WBZ News Radio continues an in-depth look at the immigration debate in Massachusetts.

In Immigration: The America Dream, WBZ News Radio’s Mary Blake examines the complex issue from various points of view.

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During a 4th grade class at East Elementary School in Sharon, teacher Susan Nardon talks to her students about immigration, “so boys and girls, we’ve spent a lot of time in this classroom investigating immigration.  Talking about where our families came from, why they left their homeland…”

Later, Norton explains to WBZ why immigration is being talked about in class, “kids get the concept almost right away, they really understand. What they don’t have is that many times…they don’t have the story of their own families which we ask them to do and they are able to bring that into the classroom and blend it with what we teach them and really have an understanding as they even look around the classroom…how America really is a melting pot. That we really are all from so many different countries. They accept it, they embrace it.”

Diane Portnoy, co-founder and CEO of the non-profit Immigrant Learning Center in Malden wants more people to embrace new arrivals to this country.

Her center provides English classes to adult immigrants and refugees and she believes anti-immigrant sentiment is worse now than ever,  “each of them at one time or another have been victims of this anti-immigrant sentiment and you’ve heard it take our jobs away they don’t pay taxes they’re all criminals and terrorists.

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Portnoy says statistics show this couldn’t be further from the truth, “in Massachusetts half of the PhD’s are foreign born.”

Brookline School Committee Chairwoman Rebecca Stone thinks it’s time to change the public dialogue and has introduced  a town meeting warrant this  month that would allow immigrants with green cards to vote in local elections.

“This is really just about the embrace of the green card of the permanent residents in our community and a way to  say, ‘ we want you here’, we  love that fact that we have this international diversity  in Brookline we are richer for it.”

To date, the state legislature has not been receptive to the proposal.

Listen to WBZ News Radio’s Mary Blake:

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WBZ’s Mary Blake report, Immigration: The America Dream”, Part 2.
In the next segment:  What people do to get here.