News

Advocates talk refugees, immigration health care and legal representation at breakfast event

Immigration has been a hot topic since President Donald Trump took office, but issues are vast and often people forget that there are humans at the other end of the rhetoric.

Three expert panelists spoke Tuesday at an NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation and tried to untangle some of the complexities involved with immigration, as well as highlight some of the lesser-known issues.

“Children are often forgotten in policy language,” said Dr. Julie Linton, an academic general pediatrician with a career devoted to community pediatrics, medical education, and advocacy.

Linton, whose grandparents were refugees who escaped the Holocaust, talked about immigration and child health. She said 1 in 5 kids in North Carolina are immigrants or belonged to immigrant families and that when they flee their home country, they’ve often witnessed violence, kidnapping, rape and extortion and faced death in the desert or drowning in a river.

“When they get here, they face an immigration system that looks more like a Tokyo map than anything that can actually help children,” she added.

She spoke about the need for medical care and the effect that even the threat of deportation can have on children. Immigrant children need healthcare, food, shelter, education, and often times, legal representation, she said.

Raul Pinto, a staff attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Immigrants and Refugees Rights Project, said the chance of an immigrant staying in the U.S. increases exponentially when they have a lawyer.

He discussed some of the state legislative bills that would have an impact on immigrants, including House Bill 471, which would increase the penalty for driving without a license, and HB 145, which would penalize perceived sanctuaries for immigrants.

Pinto recommended North Carolinians who want to help stay engaged with legislators, connect with advocacy organizations and offer a ride to undocumented immigrants who can’t get a license.

“I think we can all do a little bit to make things better,” he said.

 

Diya Abdo, an associate professor of English and Chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College in Greensboro, spoke about Every Campus a Refuge.

The organization is an initiative which calls on every college and university around the world to host one refugee family on their campus grounds and to assist them in resettlement.

Abdo, a first-generation Palestinian born and raised in Jordan, said Guilford College is currently hosting two refugee families made up of 16 people. She said college campuses are perfect to host families because they already have a lot of resources — volunteers, space, etc.

“Even if a campus never hosts a refugee, saying that you want to makes all the difference,” she said. “When a campus says out loud that ‘we welcome, we are not afraid’ … I think that sends a powerful, powerful message.”

Hosting refugees also offers educational opportunities for students on campus, Abdo said. Guilford College will soon have an Every Campus a Refuge minor, in which students can earn 16 credits.

Check Also

Analysis: Large efficiency gap in new legislative maps give Republicans ‘enormous edge’

The Campaign Legal Center released a partisan analysis ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement refuses to disclose any details of probe into alle [...]

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill [...]

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative [...]

The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the [...]

Justices will hear Cooper v. Berger and Moore next week and the stakes couldn’t be much higher One o [...]

The post Monument to the ‘Party of Limited Government & Local Control’ appeared first on NC Poli [...]

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court infamously upheld the legality of racial segregation and “Jim Crow” [...]

900 million---amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts passed this year when they are fully in [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more