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DACA, the Dreamers, and the Future of Immigration Reform

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On Monday evening, March 19th, we went to "Suzie's Dogs & Drafts" on Phelps Street in Youngstown for a  panel discussion put on by the City Club in Mahoning Valley on "DACA, the Dreamers, and the Future of Immigration Reform" moderated by Dr. Tim Francisco, Professor of English at Youngstown State University.

As Dr. Francisco said at the start of the program, "imagine a lawyer, a historian and a politician walk into a bar to discuss immigration" which is exactly what happened because the panelists were our own Mr. Richard Drucker, an immigration attorney; Dr. Donna M. DeBlasio, Professor of History and Director of Center for Applied History at Youngstown State University; and Mr. Mark Munroe, Chairperson of the Mahoning County Republican Party.

In the course of the dialogue, quite a few of the proposals made by President Trump were discussed such as a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, merit-based immigration as opposed to immigration based on family connections, and more border security.

Mr. Munroe basically backed President Trump's agenda as being pragmatic and necessary so that our immigration dilemma will be resolved once and for all while Dr. DeBlasio and Mr. Drucker took exception to much of what is currently being put forth in Washington, DC ; Dr. DeBlasio spoke from the point-of-view of both a historian and as the descendant of Italian immigrants and Mr. Drucker as someone who has personally experienced the pitfalls of our current immigration system on a daily basis in his dealings with clients and courts.

A highlight was the part of the discussion that focused on sanctuary cities because Mr. Munroe believed that ICE officers would be in less danger if state and local would cooperate with them while Mr. Drucker believed that the primary duty of a  local police forces is to protect and to serve all of the people of their community; therefore the states and localities should have the option of deciding to what extent they wish to work with ICE while making clear that undocumented people who have committed serious crimes should not be protected.     

The three panelists found common ground regarding the need for some kind of genuine immigration reform; the urgency of providing immigration courts with more resources; the importance of helping DACA recipients if not the dreamers as a whole; and that immigrants overall have a positive effect on the economy and the social fabric of the United States.

Interestingly, as to the question of whether or not a wall should be constructed between the United States and Mexico, while both Dr. DeBlasio and Mr. Drucker were very much against it and offered sound reasons as to why it just wouldn't work, Mr. Munroe said he was strongly in favor of border security but he emphasized the need to employ the latest technology (i.e. cameras and electronic monitoring) in order to accomplish this. As for a wall, Mr. Munroe indicated that it would be practical in certain sections of the US/Mexican border.

Despite the inevitable disagreements, the three panelists respected each  other and answered the questions directed at them with passion and conviction instead of anger and bitterness. It was very much in the same vein as the discussion on immigration at the City Club in Cleveland two weeks ago wherein our Mr. Francis Fungsang was a panelist.

Indeed at the end of the night, we think that Dr. Francisco hit a verbal bullseye when he thanked Dr. DeBlasio, Mr. Drucker, and Mr. Munroe for taking part in a "spirited" discussion. 

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC