(July 20 2017) Catherine Reads speaks with local attorney Lisa Johnson-Firth of Immigrants First, PLLC about the shift in policy regarding enforcement of immigration laws and which immigrants are the focus of this shift under the Trump Administration.
Lisa Johnson-Firth does presentations for many groups in the area entitled “Know Your Rights.” In the first segment she discusses what it means to be “out of status” and the appropriate measures to take when being pulled over by police. While Virginia is a “name only state” and we are not required to give anything other than our names, Lisa talks about the practical issues of cooperation with law enforcement while being aware of giving information that can and will be used against us in a court of law. The point of her Know Your Rights presentations is to make certain that people in our community know their legal rights and also the practical considerations of how much to say and when.
Catherine and Lisa also talk about the various groups of people in this country who are “out of status” which includes those who have overstayed their student or tourist visas from countries around the world. Europeans and non-Hispanic people do not appear to be the target of this crackdown on immigration which brings into question the profiling of anyone who might be an “out of status” person in this country based solely on their appearance. This seems to be driven by a fear of gang members and criminals pouring across our southern borders instead of the many women and children who are fleeing violence in their own countries as refugees.
In the second segment, Lisa discusses those who seek to claim asylum here and the process for that and how it varies from one country to another. There continues to be a stream of unaccompanied minors coming across our boarders from Central America and managing that flow is taxing our resources at the border and is putting these children in danger. This risk is driven by desperation and until the violence subsides in those countries, the flow of illegal immigration is not going to slow down.
The final part of this show asks some fundamental questions about dealing with illegal immigration going forward and what can be done to craft better public policies around this issue. We must also be honest about the benefits of immigration to our communities in this country as well as to the immigrants themselves. For more information visit Immigrants First, PLLC.