Chester County League of Women Voters meeting immigration topic – Daily Local

WEST CHESTER – At their recent annual meeting, League of Women Voters of Chester County (LWVCC) President Susan Carty said: “These difficult times mean that individuals must commit to staying up to date with everything and to be alert to what is happening. Immigration is an area that is included in LWV national policy issues. “Promoting immediate family reunification, being responsible to families facing political persecution or humanitarian crises,” prompted the LWVCC to look at immigration.

“The need to protect our democracy means we need to become more informed voters,” Carty added, calling on Sandy Schaal to introduce immigration lawyers Anna Paciorek, Esq. and Pablo Quintanilla, Associate Lawyer, to talk about “Current Issues Related to Immigration”.

Paceorek, a native of Warsaw, Poland, who immigrated in 1988, is a graduate of Temple Law School and an assistant professor at Temple. She was named Top Immigration Lawyer in Main Line Today’s 2018 list of Top Lawyers. She worked on immigration issues and violence against women for 20 years, before creating Sweet and Paciorek with Lindsey Sweet.

Quintanilla, whose parents emigrated from El Salvador, graduated from Widener University Delaware Law School. Fluent in Spanish and English, he started working as a summer intern at Sweet and Paciorek in 2019.

The lawyers discussed three areas of their work: a brief update on what is happening at the border, Afghan refugees and people from Ukraine, before giving the floor to League members.

“Immigration always changes with each new administration that takes office,” Paciorek said. “President Biden worked to get rid of the previous administration’s immigration programs, which cited COVID as a reason for the mistreatment of immigrants. It has become political, and we are in a gray area. More changes were due to happen in mid-May until a judge stops them,” she added.

“Furthermore, there is no media coverage of unaccompanied minors crossing the border and caravans of people fleeing violence in their home countries, as was the case under the previous administration,” he said. she declared. “So people are not as aware of immigration issues.”

“The courts are still overcrowded, but applications have become easier for asylum seekers. Immigrants who cross our borders and come to the United States to live here permanently come mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and other Central American countries. Most are not professionals; many don’t even have a 6th grade education. “Many of them work here in jobs such as landscaping and construction. They have family green cards, employment green cards, humanitarian green cards, lottery green cards. Some are long-time residents.

In response to a question, Paciorek said anyone entering the United States goes to a COVID detention center. Many changes have been made as a result of treatment by the previous administration, and conditions have improved due to COVID.

Another change is that local law enforcement does not automatically contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when they find immigrants in their communities. The Obama administration, and now the Biden administration, have created criteria to deport certain immigrants. For example, those who are terrorists or come from terrorist countries, and those with serious beliefs, are not allowed to enter.

The second group of immigrants, Afghans who come to this country, receive temporary status and want to settle here permanently. They are refugees, a legal term that entitles an individual to certain benefits, such as housing and employment. Some have families here, and some have worked with the US government in Afghanistan.

“The third group of individuals coming to the United States are Ukrainians, who fled their country due to lack of security and fear, and who were granted refugee status,” Paciorek explained. “They don’t want permanent status, but only seek asylum until they can return home to Ukraine. There are two programs for them: receiving temporary protected status and obtaining permission to work and working with unrelated sponsors who want to help Ukrainians. We don’t see a lot of Ukrainians,” Paciorek said, “but we see a lot of Afghans.”

During the brief business portion of the meeting, Carty acknowledged the contributions of LWVCC members Mary Lou Dondero, Cathy Palmquist, Carole Mackrell, Deb Galleck, Meryle Rothman, Valerie Thomas and others.

Jessica C. Bell