Immigration forum generates discussion
Published: February 13, 2007
immigrationAbout 100 people gathered in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom to hear a lively, topical discussion on immigration issues that have taken on national importance in recent months.

The Feb. 7 program, "The city of Hazleton v. illegal immigration: A discussion of local initiatives to challenge undocumented immigration," was co-sponsored by the law school and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Law Foundation. Matthew I. Hirsch Esq., adjunct professor of immigration law at the Widener Law campus in Delaware moderated the program and was its chief organizer.

Panelists included Alan E. Garfield, professor of law and the H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law at Widener Law in Delaware, Maria Matos, executive director of the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Benjamin E. Johnson, director of the Immigration Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and Professor Jan Ting, who teaches at Temple University Beasley School of Law and is a Widener Law adjunct faculty member.

Ting generated the most discussion with his remarks that the city of Hazleton - which took steps to propose, debate and pass local ordinances requiring landlords, employers and business owners to verify the immigration status of tenants, employees and customers - was a place of good people trying to cope with a crisis not of their making. "The Hazleton council has shown a pathway to other cities," he said.

Matos countered that immigrants are vital to the nation's economy and places like Hazleton will feel the pinch when immigrants leave and vacant stores and restaurants are left behind. "The U.S. immigration system is broken, but creating a patchwork of different policies in small towns only makes it worse," she said.

Caption:
Photo: Panelists at the recent immigration forum included, from left, Benjamin E. Johnson, director of the Immigration Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Maria Matos, executive director of the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Matthew I. Hirsch Esq., adjunct professor of immigration law at the Widener Law campus in Delaware (at podium), Jan Ting, who teaches at Temple University Beasley School of Law and is a Widener Law adjunct faculty member, and Alan E. Garfield, law professor and the H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law at Widener's Delaware campus.