Mini Law School for the Public: Immigration Myths v. Reality and the 2016 Elections

The more you know about the laws that affect you, the easier it is to make good decisions about your life, your family and your finances. Each year, The Missouri Bar collaborates with law schools and legal professionals from across the state to deliver Mini Law School for the Public courses. During these sessions, attendees can hear in-depth discussions about various law-related topics. This video is an opportunity to view programming from the 2016 fall lecture series.

The 2016 election season brought forth many questions and debates about immigration policies in the United States. In this video, recorded Oct. 5, 2016, during Mini Law School for the Public in St. Louis, Katie Herbert Meyer, program coordinator and supervising attorney at the Migrant & Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project, discusses some common myths surrounding immigration and how they impact politics.

“As an immigration lawyer, I get very frustrated that if you just go by what the news says, you’re really not getting an accurate picture as to what the current state of immigration law and policy is,” Meyer said.

Meyer talks about the role of the three branches of government in immigration policy and offers an overview of historical executive actions involving immigration—including a summary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)—and what future politicians might enact.

She also offers real-life examples of immigration scenarios and sheds light on what concepts like deferred action and discretionary enforcement mean for those involved in immigration matters.

“Judges in immigration law now, since 1996, have almost no discretion,” Meyer said. “If a person does not qualify for one of these black and white ways to stop deportation, a judge can’t just say, ‘This is not fair.’ A judge has to make a decision.”

Other points in the lecture include:

  • The true definition of an immigrant
  • The myth of “anchor babies” and “Green Card marriages”
  • The role that an immigration lawyer can play in cases
  • The distinction between refugees and immigrants
  • What government services immigrants can and can’t access
  • and much more

Watch the lecture here:

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