Why Federal Goverment let part of our society being guardians of national immigration laws which has led to harmful racial and ethnic profiling?.
"There is more work to be done," said University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee after greeting the crowd with "buenas tardes," the Spanish phrase for "good afternoon."
Forsee also for the first time publicly announced the university’s opposition to a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment to make illegal any form of affirmative action. Concurrent with the Council on Public Higher Education, a group of presidents and chancellors of public institutions of higher education in the state, Forsee said claims that affirmative action resulted in reverse discrimination were "false, absolutely false."
In a session after the introductory remarks, Kansas City immigration lawyer Roger McCrummen addressed the implications of local enforcement of national immigration laws.
"Many people are saying, ‘Let’s make their lives so miserable here that they’ll go back, they’ll self-deport,’ " McCrummen said at the Stoney Creek Inn’s conference room, where the MU-sponsored conference is being held through tomorrow. "That’s not going to happen because they have families here and jobs here. It only makes a less secure society."
McCrummen described the formation of a "checkpoint society" by the litany of immigration laws being considered in Missouri that seek to empower local law enforcement officials, employers and private landlords to check the immigration status of people.
"If it’s not helping families or the economy … then why are you insisting on such laws?" McCrummen asked.
Hyuen Pham, an immigration law expert from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, said charging local law enforcement and private citizens who are untrained in immigration law to be guardians of national immigration laws has led to harmful racial and ethnic profiling.
"The trend of local enforcement of immigration law might be one of the most important today," she said.
During the question-and-answer period, attendee Andy Laughlin of Stark City asked why no distinction was being made between people who are "anti-immigrant" and those who are "anti-illegal immigrant."
"Those are two completely different people in my view," said Laughlin, who works in early childhood development with both legal and illegal immigrant families. Laughlin also took offense to comments by the speakers that claimed enforcing certain immigration laws would split "mixed-status" families, where a mother and child might be legal residents and a father not.
"If you capitulate to somebody that’s illegal in the name of community relations, then that’s a big error or a big mistake," he said. Laughlin later called the Tribune to clarify: "It’s all very complex, and there’s no easy answer, and to give a knee-jerk reaction is wrong.
"This is not the same thing as a bank robber, rapist, murderer because of the complexity," he said, describing a hypothetical situation. "This is a man. The only illegal activity he’s doing is being here illegally, but being understanding and sympathetic is a necessity."