The University of Idaho’s College of Law hosted a lecture to clarify how the Palouse can handle the challenges facing diversity, Feb. 15.
In light of the new immigration policies enacted by President Donald Trump, the College of Law hosted a lecture to explain what his new policies mean, and what impacts it might have on the community.
The panel of speakers at the event were comprised of Ritchie Eppink, the legal director of ACLU of Idaho, Maria Andrade, an immigration attorney from Andrade Legal, and Kate Evans, a law professor at UI.
Evans, who organized the event, said the lecture was a way to explain the legal ramifications of the new executive orders in layman’s terms for those who may not fully comprehend the complexities of the situation.
“Universities are in a unique situation,” Evans said. “We have to assure students that their information is really well protected and educate students so they know what actions they can take, and what their rights are.”
Evans said there are currently 10 states challenging the new immigration policies for being unconstitutional.
Evans said there is support for the ethnically diverse groups of people affected by the executive orders.
“There are a lot of people very concerned about what our country now stands for, the history of diversity that our country has been a leader in, and the history of our country as a home for immigrants,” Evans said. “There is a lot of polarization, but we can see growing support from all over the place where people are saying, ‘I’m standing with you, and I support you.’”
Andrade spoke about the new way Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will operate under the recent executive orders.
Prior to the recent policy changes, if an undocumented alien was charged with a crime there were certain channels that person could go through to remain in the country depending on the severity of their crime. Today, a criminal trespass as miniscule as jaywalking have become grounds for deportation, she said.
“When you hear the words ‘criminal alien’ today, you shouldn’t assume they are high-level criminals,” Andrade said. “In today’s world, we don’t have any sense of anybody being prioritized over another.”
Andrade said these new implementations seem unfair, and they take advantage of vulnerable people.
Eppink said the executive orders could be the catalyst for morally darker times in the United States.
“We can see the start of what seems to be an aggressively racist, dystopian new world,” Eppink said.
Eppink said the new immigration policies are flawed in many ways, including the way the federal government has encouraged the voluntary support of any government funded institution to help in the search for undocumented people.
“On one hand, there is encouragement for local law enforcement to cross that line,” Eppink said. “On the other hand, there are threats of punishment for any locality, or state agency, or university for discouraging local enforcement of said immigration laws.”
Andrew Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org