Immigration experts Kica Matos and Glenn Formica answer audience members’ questions at Building One Community’s panel discussion on immigrant rights (contributed photo)
Building One Community – The Center for Immigrant Opportunity hosted a panel discussion on immigrant rights on Thursday, October 4, 2018, at the Stamford Yacht Club. The discussion was led by Glenn Formica, experienced trial lawyer and immigration practitioner, and Kica Matos, the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change.
Congressman Jim Himes prefaced the panel discussion by reaffirming American core values and reminding attendees that the U.S. is a country made by immigrants. During the discussion, Mr. Formica and Ms. Matos spoke about the current administration’s immigration priorities and their impact on immigrants in the local community. They described three of their clients’ cases involving the potential family separation of US born children and their parents who have lived in the country for more than ten years.
The panelists also explained community support and effective community activism, highlighting cases in which the team support model implemented by Building One Community was effective. The panel participants then opened the floor for questions. Audience members asked for an update on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and requested more information about sanctuary as an option for immigrants facing deportation. Mr. Formica and Ms. Matos wrapped up the night by reiterating that community members can create the greatest impact on immigration at the local level by spreading awareness of immigrant rights and participating in community support activities and public actions.
After attending the event on Thursday night, B1C Board Chair Anne Downey said, “It is great to see so many community members turn out to take part in this conversation. It’s important to know that all of us can make a difference in the lives of immigrants in a variety of small ways.”