Local News

ESL teacher: 'Only way to go is forward' on immigration issues

Posted February 18

— Recent immigration policy changes are sparking questions in some communities about how to move forward, so students, educators and members of the public gathered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Saturday for a panel discussion to open up the conversation.

“I think the goal is to get people involved interested in what’s going on with immigration, both at the state level and at the national level,” said immigration attorney and panelist Raul Pinto. “We hope that people are starting to be energized and engaged to how we fight those policies and how we try to push back.”

Most who attended Saturday’s discussion said they came to get a better understanding of what’s happening, including Beverly Koester, who has been an ESL teacher for the past eight years.

“I began to realize that some people were not documented and were worried about driving and all these kinds of things, so I’m still in the process of trying to get more informed,” she said.

Melissa Simmermeyer, who is also an educator, said she’s especially concerned about the misinformation that has been circulating.

“I’m also really worried that people don’t know what’s going on with immigrants and refugees and there are a lot of assumptions that are happening,” Simmermeyer said.

Though many feel like they are still working to navigate their way through the brush, they said they are glad to be getting involved.

“It is really a very, very difficult time, but the only way to go is forward and try to do what we can,” said Koester.

The second part of the panel discussion addressed refugee policies.


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  • Charles Williams Feb 19, 2017
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    Deport them and make them come here legally.

  • Tim Blanchard Feb 19, 2017
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    Is this editorial or news? It seems like a poorly written article about some panel where a bunch of people said they like illegal immigration and don't care about that 5yo boy killed in Hillsbourgh when illegals drive around with no license.

  • Norman Lewis Feb 19, 2017
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    "Some people were not documented and worried about driving"? I am concerned also about them driving with uninspected, unregistered and very importantly, uninsured cars. The fact they are likely less experienced with driving does not help me feel better.

  • Ronald Woodard Feb 18, 2017
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    And after this panel discussion people are still not informed about immigration as it was a promotion for illegal immigration and misleading about the refugee program. The excuses of illegal immigrants were noted, but the consequences to low-skilled citizens who lose jobs to illegal immigrants and other working poor citizens who see their wages reduced by illegal immigrants had no one advocating for them. And no one was advocating for the rule of law and illegal immigrants engaging in identity theft to remain in the USA. Every dollar going to illegal immigrants and their dependents is one less dollar going to poor citizens and our elderly poor.