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Mitrano discusses immigration with panel

District 23 Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano (upper left in this Zoom screenshot) talked about immigration recently during her weekly talk with a panel.

On her weekly talk with a panel, Tracy Mitrano, who is running for Congress as a Democrat in District 23, discussed immigration.

Including Mitrano, all of her panelists are pro-immigration. Her panelists included Catherine “Pily” Pintagro, Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at Family Services of Jamestown, Jaclyn Kelley-Widmer, Founder & Director of the Immigration Law & Advocacy Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell University, Nicole Hallet, Director, Immigrants’ Rights Clinic & Associate Clinical Professor of Law at University of Chicago Law School (formerly at UB), and Mary Jo Dudley, Director of the Cornell Farmworker Program at Cornell University.

“For a long time we’ve understood that there are going to be many immigrants here. We need them here, they are a part of our economy, they are a part of our community,” said Hallet. “Yet we haven’t wanted to fully reckon with what that means. We think of ourselves as diverse, a country that is welcoming to immigrants, that’s our national story and yet haven’t really come to terms with that.”

Mitrano is supportive of expanding green cards, work visas, and immigration in general. “We have come to a crisis point now with immigration, which of course was true before the pandemic,” said Mitrano. “Now as a result of the pandemic, we are seeing the things that were so divisive and so problematic for many many people all over this country.”

She explained that she is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes expanded visas. She said that farmers in New York state are also supportive of this as well, since they need workers.

According to Mitrano, open borders are not what members of her party want. “This notion that a Democratic candidate wants open borders is certainly not a reality for any Democrat I know, but just speaking for myself, I very much am for enforcing borders,” said Mitrano. “But I think we have to do it sensibly. In some cases it may involve a physical border, but in many cases it will involve technology and surveillance.”

“They (immigrants) are already here, they are already a part of our community and we should treat them that way,” said Hallett. “For too long we’ve allowed this cognitive dissonance where we accept that we need them but we treat them like second-class citizens or residents.”

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