Debbie and John Dingell speak on campus on Constitution Day

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BY MARIA KANSO, News Editor

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and her husband, the former congressman John Dingell, visited the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus on Monday in celebration of Constitution Day. The two talked about their experiences with defending justice and their feelings about the new presidency.

A former Chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors, Debbie Dingell is a congresswoman representing the 12th District of Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives. She also worked for  General Motors for more than 30 years, where she served as the president of the GM foundation. Debbie Dingell is known for defending the rights of women and children.

Constitution Day is the celebration of signing the U.S Constitution that defined the rights of U.S citizens as well as those who later became naturalized as such.

“I think Constitution Day is something that is encouraged at all schools like yours, and I think it’s an important time to think about what is a constitution and what it means to all of us,” she said.

Dingell also said she is impressed with the rights the American people share when it comes to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

“I feel like it’s an important time for all of us to think about how lucky we are to have this democracy and this Constitution, which is the foundation of the freedoms we have in this country,” she said.

John Dingell was a member of the U.S House of Representatives from 1955 to 2015. He represented the 12th, the 15th and the 16th Congressional Districts of Michigan throughout his term. He also served in the United States Army, was a research assistant for the U.S Circuit Judge Theodore Levine and worked as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of Wayne County.

During his visit to UM-Dearborn, John Dingell said the Constitution is a “document of extraordinary importance.” He also talked about some of the “difficulties” that resulted from making the U.S Constitution, such as considering a person with black skin as three-fifths of a person.

“This was a time of terrible, terrible trouble, which still curses us today,” he said. “Some of us, like me, were born here and we’re lucky. But some of us were not born here and have had to be naturalized.”

“They [naturalized citizens] have shown that they really do love this country because they came here by choice.”

Debbie Dingell also said she is against term limits, which limit the number of years an office holder can serve in certain offices. She said it should be more than two years because she is “accountable to people every two years.”

Gerrymandering, giving a certain party more electoral districts than another by dividing the districts in a certain way, was also a topic that Debbie Dingell talked about, saying that “something needs to be done about it.”

She also said she is against the travel ban initiated by President Donald Trump through an executive order, affecting individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries including Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Libya, from entering the United States.

“We do need to be strong in national security, but being strong in national security isn’t protecting ourselves by attacking somebody’s religion,” she said.

John Dingell commented on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, saying that DACA recipients are “good for the economy.”

“We need to figure out how we are going to come together and start to resolve some of these issues,” he said.