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College of Social Work

Immigration Issues

Nov. 2, 2018
By Chris Woodley,

Immigration policy is rapidly changing and affecting immigrants, refugees and communities. On Nov. 1 at the Russell House, the College of Social Work hosted an Immigration Panel to discuss this important issue.

“The purpose of the panel was to address the misconceptions people have about the experiences immigrants and refugees face while fleeing from poverty and persecution,” said Student Empowerment Resource Group President (SERG) and MSW student Sarah Hunter.

Co-sponsored by the college’s I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice, and SERG, attendees viewed the PBS documentary, “4.1 Miles.” The Oscar-nominated short film followed a day in the life of Greek Coast Guard Captain Kyriakos Papadopoulos and his crew and their attempts to save thousands of migrants from drowning in the Aegean Sea.

A panel discussion followed the documentary with College of Social Work Assistant Professors Breanne Grace and Benjamin Roth, Dr. Rajeev Bias, a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and founder of the Carolina Survivor Clinic, and Jacqueline Mayorga, a case manager for Lutheran Services Carolinas.

Grace and Roth spoke on refugee policy and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, respectively. Dr. Bais and Mayorga provided more information about their organizations, which provide services for survivors of torture (Carolina Survivor Clinic) and undocumented minors (Lutheran Services Carolinas). Other topics during the panel discussion included the current migrant caravan headed toward the U.S. Southern border, sanctuary cities and how students can help with immigration issues.

“This is an important issue regardless of whether or not a person is affected,” said MSW student Maeghan Hall. “As social workers it is important to learn about the realities of those we hope to help. If people who are not personally affected don’t stop and take action those who need help will continue to be ignored.”

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