Immigration Conference in Hammond Starts Conversation on Policy, Cultural Sensitivity
President Trump’s support for the proposed ban on the popular green card lottery was one of the core topics of discussion at the immigration conference in Hammond, Indiana. At the conference, aimed at educating teachers, lawyers and students about immigration policies in the United States, there was a general concern on the tough immigration laws. Of greater concern was the difficulty faced by immigrants who wanted to get US citizenship.
Should the policy changes suggested by the president pass, tougher laws will be adopted restricting immigration into the country. The merit based immigration plan targets high skilled workers, highly educated individuals with high proficiency in English. The plan thus closes the door to those who hope to migrate to the country in search of greener pastures or to be unified with their family members already living in the country.
At the conference, it was a general feeling that more should be done to ensure that the plan which is definitely going to lead to social injustices on the families of immigrants in the United States and on hopeful immigrants does not pass. In fact, Patrick O’Rourke, one of the attendants, was hopeful that their efforts would make an impact in this issue which he termed a social justice matter.
The conference included a workshop held on Saturday which was composed of sessions on ICE raids, threats of deportation, cultural sensitivity and attorney- client relationships. Immigrants shared problems associated with their status including the difficulty that undocumented immigrants faced in getting important services such as health care.
A second concern brought out in the conference was the need to use city resources to enforce immigration laws. These resources, according to the attendants are already scarce. Further, as Mayra Rodriguez-Alvarez, another attendant said, no human being is illegal. It is thus, wrong to subject anyone to cruel treatment based on their immigration status.
Attorney’s at the conference expressed concern on the lack of information concerning immigration laws. Alfredo Estrada, an attorney, saw to it that lawyers at the conference were educated on the country’s immigration laws and their complexity. He stressed especially on the rights of individuals faced with deportation.
The Welcoming City Ordinance was thoroughly discussed. This ordinance allows undocumented immigrants to live in cities where it is ratified and to have access to services that they are not allowed in other cities. The ordinance, for instance, prohibits registration of individuals based on their races and national origin hence allowing everyone in the cities access to the most basic services.