Immigration policy to be discussed in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Wednesday, immigration policy will be front and center in Roanoke.

In light of the recent executive orders on immigration, a local immigration attorney will be breaking down what they mean in our area.

Most recently, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have been conducting raids in several large cities.

Christine Poarch is a local immigration attorney. She says under President Obama, these operations were predictable and understandable. She says the Obama administration was focusing on deporting illegal immigrants who also committed another crime, like homicide or driving under the influence.

Now, under President Trump she says they are less focused and are picking up people who are here illegally, but do not necessarily have a criminal background. That raises concerns for her.

It's part of the reason why her law firm is talking about the system and its effects on our region, all while the Trump administration defends its policies as a way to keep the country safe.

President Donald Trump said, “We want to have a big, beautiful open door and we want people to come in in our country, but we cannot let the wrong people in.”

Christine Lockhart Poarch, Poarch Law Firm, said, “One of the main falsities in any dialogue about immigration is that somehow our legal immigration system works. And that folks could've used a lawful way to get here. Our lawful immigration system doesn't function well at all and sometimes doesn't function at all.”

Poarch says this recent policy shift is raising questions for undocumented and documented immigrants alike, and also employers who are interested in economic development here.

Poarch said, “The last year and a half has seen an increase in hesitance or reticence by foreign companies that would come to the valley that would set up shop.”

Trump said, “We are getting such praise for our stance and it's a stance of common sense.”

This talk will be going on from 1 until 5:00 in Fitzpatrick Hall at the Jefferson Center. The first hour will talk about legal immigration and the second hour going over the executive orders and what they mean. Roanoke's Police Chief Tim Jones is scheduled to be on hand for that portion. The public is welcome to attend, but registration is requested.