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U.S. Election - Immigration | Munk Debates

EPISODE #43

U.S. Election - Immigration

Be it Resolved, no one is illegal.

Guests
Allen Orr
Samuel Rodriguez

About this episode

A wall that now stretches 300 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border. The suspensions of the Dreamers program that shielded 800,000 children born to undocumented immigrants from deportation. The launch of a zero-tolerance policy that separates unauthorized migrants from their children. These are some of the hallmarks of the immigration policy of President Donald Trump’s administration. Tackling the growing number of unauthorized migrants – estimates suggest as many as 12 million - was key to Trump’s election in 2016 and his case for a second term. Supporters of Trump’s immigration policies believe the rule of law must be paramount when deciding who gets to become a U.S. citizen. They argue that illegal immigrants are “queue jumping” – making it harder for migrants who apply lawfully to enter the U.S. Mass illegal migration is destabilizing the border, costing billions in social services, and driving down wages for struggling blue collar workers. Critics of President Trump’s immigration policies take issue with the very concept of a migrant being “illegal.” They argue that unauthorized border crossings are a civil violation not a criminal offence. They argue that a realistic and humane immigration policy needs to recognize that undocumented immigrants are part of the fabric of America, with more than two-thirds having lived in the U.S. for over ten years. A fair and just immigration policy in America would recognize the vital role migrants and their families play in the workplace, in their communities, in society at large.

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Guests

Allen Orr

"'Illegal alien' only became part of the lexicon of this country in 2018 to add flames to the fire of the immigration conversation."

Allen Orr

"'Illegal alien' only became part of the lexicon of this country in 2018 to add flames to the fire of the immigration conversation."

Allen Orr is the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned law firm based in
Washington, DC and focusing on a US corporate compliance. He is the Immigration Section Chair for the National Bar Association and he is the President-Elect of AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association where he is a national spokesperson. Mr. Orr is the recipient of the 2009 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for contributions made in the immigration law field and specifically for his work with the NMD. He is listed in The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers. Mr. Orr received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse and a JD from Howard School of Law. He is an active member of the DC, Virginia and National Bar Associations. Mr. Orr has appeared on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), FOX News, Deustsche Welle (DW), and RT American (RT) and is a frequent national and international speaker on US immigration and policy.

Samuel Rodriguez

"What does "undocumented" mean? It does not reference anything about the illegal entry into a nation that has every right to protect its border."

Samuel Rodriguez

"What does "undocumented" mean? It does not reference anything about the illegal entry into a nation that has every right to protect its border."

Samuel Rodriguez is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization with 42,000 plus U.S. churches and many additional churches spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora.
 
Rodriguez has been named among the “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America” (Newsmax 2018) and nominated as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” (TIME 2013). Rodriguez is regularly featured in CNN, Fox News, Univision, PBS, Christianity Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, andmany others.
 
Rodriguez was the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the annual The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award presented by the Congress of Racial Equality.
 
Rodriguez, has advised Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump, and frequently consults with Congress advancing immigration and criminal justice reform as well as religious freedom and LIFE initiatives.
 
He is the author of You Are Next, Shake Free, as well as Be Light, a #1 LA Times bestseller.
 
Rodriguez serves as Senior Pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California.

Show Notes

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez has written numerous books about the Christian faith. You can find them here.
 
As President-Elect and National Spokesman for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association, Allen Orr often speaks to the media on immigration issues, including in this article about the contributions undocumented workers make to U.S. employers.
 
“Illegals,” “aliens,” and “undocumented” are some of the terms referred to in this debate. You can learn more about these terms and the politics behind their use here. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offers these guidelines on the correct terminology when talking about immigration and migrants.
 
During the debate, Allen points out that the immigration debate can’t be centered on deportation. He reminds the audience that President Ronald Reagan supported amnesty for undocumented residents in the US as the best solution for moving forward. You can learn more about President Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) here.
 
During the debate, Sam argues in favour of the current administration’s stance on strengthening borders and cracking down on undocumented migrants. He points out that President Trump proposed increasing coverage for Dreamers and offered a pathway to citizenship in exchange for more funding for border security. You can read about the negotiations between President Trump and the Democrats here.
 
Allen disagrees with Sam’s assessment that Trump has tried to move immigration reform forward in a positive way. He points to President Trump’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in 2017, a protection offered to citizens of countries experiencing natural disasters or armed conflict that allows them to legally live and work in the US. This decision was recently upheld and allowed to be enforced by a federal appeals court.

Both speakers blamed Congress for acting as a barrier to immigration solutions. You can learn more about the role of Congress in immigration reform in this Washington Post article here.
 
During the debate, a reference was made to how immigration courts are controlled by the Justice Department. Since the Justice Department is run by the attorney general, often a political appointment, immigration is an issue that is bound to be influenced by political interests. You can read more about how this impacts immigrants and their cases here.

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