Schenectady County experts discuss immigration issue – Times Union

The Schenectady County League of Women Voters asks the question: “Immigrants in America: How do we decide?” on a Thursday evening panel featuring immigration attorneys and educators who will try to answer by explaining current immigration law.

The event is at 6 p.m. in the McChesney room at the Schenectady County Public Library.

The panel will feature Sarah Rogerson, Albany Law School professor and director of the Detention Outreach Project at Albany County Jail; Union College professor Dr. Victoria Martinez, who takes students to the southern border; Isabelle Paine Thacker, attorney with The Legal Project and formerly the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; and Cathy Lewis, a member of the Schenectady City School District Board of Education.

Cheryl Nechamen, president of the 150-member Schenectady County League of Women Voters, said the group’s position on immigration is to follow current policy and look into making changes.

“I think we really need to have a deep conversation about immigration policy in Congress, but before that, our community has to know what is our policy and what happens when you don’t follow the rules,” Nechamen said.

She said the forum grew out of the group’s ongoing project to mentor legal permanent residents who want to become citizens. Since October 2017, about a dozen residents became citizens after graduating from the group’s free civics class run by volunteers. A new class session will start on Jan. 19 at the Schenectady County Library.

The city of Schenectady has the highest foreign-born population – almost 16 percent – of the tri-cities, according to the latest census. Schenectady County population is 10 percent foreign born, which is greater than neighboring counties.

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