Immigration panel explains policy, debates tough questions in Schenectady

SCHENECTADY – When it comes to immigrants, who gets to come? Who will stay? How will they be treated?

A panel of immigration experts, attorneys and educators tackled those tough questions and explained national policy to a packed room at the Schenectady County Library Thursday evening.

The forum, attended by nearly 100 people, was hosted by the Schenectady League of Women Voters. The four experts covered migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, changes to immigration policy under President Donald Trump, immigrants in Schenectady’s schools, and when questions came from the audience, addressed the elephant in the room – Trump’s push for a border wall that has caused a government shutdown.

“We are long overdue for comprehensive immigration reform. It’s unfortunate the conversation has been hijacked by a border wall,” said Sarah Rogerson, professor at Albany Law School and director of the detention outreach project that gives legal services to immigrant detainees in Albany County Jail.

She said the main security concerns in New York are at ports of entry – intercepting terrorists in airports and stopping drugs coming in on boats.

“The land border is fighting a humanitarian crisis,” she said. “We do not have anything to fear along the border, what we do have to fear is being distracted by a rhetoric of fear.”

By Mallory Moench for TIMESUNION

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