Walker Chapel United Methodist Church

IMMIGRATION!  Law, Policy, Politics, and Myths



Feburary 22nd

7:00pm to 9:00pm 







Immigration has been on the forefront of discussions for many years.  Attempts at immigration reform have been presented only to be dashed by conflicting ideologies.  Some argue that people who come here illegally become a drain on our resources as they use our medical facilities, welfare programs, and increase crime.  Others argue that we are all immigrants and the power and wealth of America has been built, and will continue to be built, by the energies of incoming immigrants. 

The Walker Chapel Forum seeks to explore this issue in an open discussion of the laws, policy, politics and myths of where we are, who we are, and where we are going as a nation.  Our guide will be Martha Schoonover, an expert on immigration who advises clients nationwide on the successful navigation of our complex set of laws.  Martha was voted the immigration “Lawyer of the Year” for 2017 and can help us unravel the mysteries of immigration law. 

February’s Forum is a discussion of U.S. Immigration law and policy and prospects for change under the new administration and Congress, particularly after a Presidential Campaign during which immigration issues were hotly debated. Martha Schoonover will address some of the many immigration myths – such as “Illegal Immigrants take too many jobs”, “Refugees could be terrorists and harm the U.S.”, or “Too many Green Cards are handed out every year.” 

No discussion would be complete without addressing the numbers of workers without authorization and efforts to curb workers without documentation from working.  For centuries people from other lands, especially those with wealth or needed skills simply landed in America and went to work.  Only in recent times has the influx been so great.   By 2015 the number of immigrants as a percentage of the U.S. population hit an all-time high of 13.5% as the sheer number of immigrants rose to 43 million.  We are a country stretched to the limit by recession, attacked from every corner of the world by those seeking to destroy peace, and with many seeing their wealth and jobs flowing away.  How are we to also cope with this influx? 


A common answer of our time is to bring in the computers, develop the bureaucracy to process the paperwork, increase the number of enforcement boots on the ground, and, yes, build a wall.  Martha will help us understand the process for a refugee to be admitted to the U.S.; an especially difficult issue both physically and morally.  Martha will also provide information on the current Green Card numbers, categories and processes so we may better understand the magnitude of the management issues facing U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the United States Department of Homeland Security.  It is already the largest federal law enforcement agency and yet still too small to meet its daily challenges.


The discussion will also explore the background and outlook for immigration reform legislation in Congress and some of the specific areas of immigration law that such legislation may address.  Duane Musser, a trade association executive with many years of experience in working on immigration reform legislation, will discuss various legislative proposals now being considered in Congress and the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy.

All eyes are on what is happening right now.  The newspapers and news stations scream it out to us every day.  In closing, Martha and Duane will talk about changes in law and policy under the Trump Administration, including new executive orders and actions that restrict immigration and rescinding executive actions and orders issued by the Obama Administration renegotiating NAFTA, which has visas attached to it, and legislation that has been proposed. They will then peer into the future and discuss legislation that likely will be proposed within the next few months.

Immigration is serious, it is big, and it affects each one of our lives and the foundations upon which this country was built.  There are few other topics that have such universal impact to so many hundreds of millions.  The question for us is do we understand the issues and do we have a personal action plan to engage in the discussion for the benefit of all.


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