Immigration law expert to speak in St. Joseph Dec. 10

ST. JOSEPH — What is the law behind such gripping headlines as immigrants in Tijuana, Mexico, seeking asylum in the United States, or a ban to prevent Muslims from entering, or immigrants being arrested and deported?

Immigration expert Susan Reed will provide answers in a free presentation, “Immigration: The Law Behind the Headlines,” at The Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad St., on Monday, Dec. 10. The approximately hour-long presentation will begin at 7 p.m. and be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Reed is managing attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and works in its Kalamazoo office. She has practiced immigration and immigrant rights law since 2003 and also has served as a staff attorney at Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan and as a regional attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors, the immigration legal services program of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. She is fluent in Spanish.

Susan Reed

Reed will give an overview of the basics of the U.S. immigration system, with a focus on understanding the legal issues behind some of the biggest immigration headlines of the last year. Attendees can expect to learn about immigration authority and enforcement (including the power of the presidency), various kinds of immigration status and pathways to residency, and arrest, detention and removal. Reed will touch on how local and state police participate in immigration enforcement, and discuss the history and development of immigration law.

The Berrien Immigrant Solidarity Network is sponsoring Reed’s presentation. BISN is a nonpartisan organization that began in the spring of 2017 and now has more than 130 members, said its leader, Dr. Betsy Lozoff of St. Joseph, who recently retired as a pediatric researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. BISN’s mission is to build immigrant-friendly communities in Berrien County and provide support for vulnerable local immigrants.

Lozoff said the organization fulfills its mission by working to raise community awareness of the obstacles immigrants face and the many contributions they make to local communities, and advocating for fairness and justice for immigrants with local police departments. BISN also helps immigrants prepare to protect their families if they are at risk for immigration enforcement, and it promotes policies that welcome immigrants — policies that do not separate children from their immigrant parents. Finally, BISN provides assistance to local families separated by immigration enforcement.

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