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On Aug. 20 a small group of community members met for a round-table discussion to learn about immigration issues and how they affect our community. The event was co-sponsored by Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and FWD.us and was chaired by Angela Adams, an immigration lawyer for Lewis-Kappes law firm and the Midwest regional coordinator for the BBB (Bibles, Badges and Business).
The speakers were Rudy Olivo, a former lieutenant in the Columbus Police Department; Doug Lehman, executive director, Indiana Dairy Producers; Rich Schenck, director, Urban Initiative for Indiana Central District & Leadership, Community Based Ministries of the Wesleyan Church; and Glenn Tebbe, executive director, Indiana Catholic Conference.
What made this round table an especially powerful session was that the presenters and the audience all have a vested interest in our community and in our state. Representatives from Congressman Luke Messer’s office attended. While not large, it was a diverse group. The topics focused on working together to create the environment for immigration reform, showing how all aspects of everyone’s life are affected by immigration issues.
While several points were made that are vital to our Columbus community, these stood out for me:
It seems clear that the issues surrounding immigration are complex and interrelated. We need to rely on ourselves, not others, to do our thinking for us, and then we let our leaders — both elected and appointed — know what we think. As immigration law and policy gain in importance in the future, we need to fully investigate
what does and doesn’t work now and how to best fix these problems for ourselves because our nation is based on the hard work of all of us.
We will always attract ambitious, talented individuals and must work out a way for our immigration system to work in favor of all. We need to ask as a community and individually what is the one thing each of us can do to help change immigration law and work for all involved and then go do it.
This letter was received Sept. 7 from Debbie East of Columbus. East is a former music and preschool teacher and current ESL teacher who received her master’s and Ph.D. in literacy, culture and language education from Indiana University.
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