Last Wednesday, September 27, the Washington-Crossing Universalist Unitarian church graciously provided a space for a citizens group to host Immigration Today: A Community Dialogue. The event was attended by 40-50 people, and, opened by short messages from representatives of the three Abrahamic faith traditions, proceeded as a human centered discussion.
The formal presentations included a DACA recipient’s personal story — as she tries to earn her Special Ed Master’s before her status is reviewed after living in the United States since age two — along with presentations by policy experts and law enforcement.
Dr. Doug Massey, of Princeton University, gave an overview of the history of Mexican immigration and demonstrated that, for the past several years, the US has been experiencing negative flow across its southern border.
Chief Sutter, Princeton Chief of Police, discussed Department policy governing its interactions with the immigrant community and put forward the many benefits to public safety gained by police declining to function as immigration policy enforcement.
Erika Nava, of New Jersey Policy Perspective, debunked many beliefs about negative economic impacts from immigrants and advanced the need to humanize our discourse on immigrant people beyond cost-benefit analyses.
Dina Mansour, of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, made clear the advantages of a municipality’s formalizing Fair & Welcoming Community status and identified what rights undocumented immigrants both do and do not have under the law. ICE detention centers and the role of ICE in for-profit prisons was chillingly related.
After Sara Mughal suggested actions to take in support of our immigrant neighbors, the QA period continued the polite, curious and concerned tenor of the evening.
The recording of the entire event and suggested actions are available online. You check it out.