On Monday, February 6 at 6:30pm, students, faculty, and community members from the Tri-Co packed into Stokes Auditorium for an Immigration Information Panel and Discussion. The panel was organized by Provost Fran Blase, and finalized quickly due to the recent Executive Orders surrounding immigration signed by President Trump. She emphasized in her opening remarks that “[immigration] is a very important issue; we must all work together.”
The panel hosted 3 immigration attorneys, including Attorney William Stock of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, Attorney Sondra Miller-Wein, the current President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA),, the founder of Immigration Law Options, LLC, and Matthew Hamill, the Senior Vice President of the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
The event began with Hamill giving an overview of what the response has been like in Washington to the immigration ban. He noted that the reaction in Washington to the recent Executive Orders as being certainly “uncomfortable,” though noted that when any administration enters office, there are always some “growing pains” and miscommunication as people figure out their roles and responsibilities.
Following the introductions, the panelists took questions from community members surrounding immigration policy. Professors wondered how they could be of assistance to students. Students questioned their ability to go home, and the implications for loved ones. Ultimately, everyone wanted answers as to what could be done in light of the current political climate.
“If you don’t have to travel, don’t,”Attorney Miller-Wein advised.
The panelists suggested a wait-and-see approach and offered themselves as resources for students on campus.
Overall, feelings were mixed about the panel.
One student stated the panel was, “very informative and logical,” but suggested they didn’t know how to feel about some of the panelists’ comments, such as when Attorney Hamill suggested that students support their peers by , “[thinking] emotionally, and [acting] rationally.”
Another student, walking out in disbelief said, “Who is the “we” in ‘we’re going to be alright’?”, echoing a sentiment students felt as panelists tried to address their concerns.
Kevin Liao ‘18 summarized the feelings of many when he stated simply, “I’m the only non-US citizen that was able to ask a question.”