Immigration law forum held at WKU featuring local attorneys

Published: Feb. 28, 2017 at 11:05 PM CST
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The Attorneys at English, Lucas, Priest and Owlsey, along with Western Kentucky University, held a forum open to the public regarding immigration law on Tuesday.

The forum followed recent executive orders signed by President Trump cracking down on immigration.

Lawyers from around the area offered advice for a number of situations to remind people of their rights, including what to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement comes to your door, looking for you or someone else.

Multiple panelists advised that telling the truth is the best way to go, but not not all questions legally require an answer.

"An immigration officer can say, 'What's your name?' and usually you can't suppress your identity," says immigration lawyer David Funke. "You give them your name, but then the next question that comes out of the immigration officer's mouth is 'do you have a green card?', or 'are you here legally?'. You don't have to answer that."

Funke claims those kind of questions are considered racial profiling.

Some of the Panelists warned of unlawful entry of immigration officers, and suggested that people read up on their rights or speak to an immigration attorney.

Judy Schwank of Schwank Law PLLC says she knows unlawful entry is a problem, but has not seen much of a problem with any local agencies.

Another issue addressed was President Trumps proposed limitations to granting visas for immigrants, including those already in the country, for example, international students at WKU.

One panelist advised that anybody that would be affected by that, with a clean criminal background, that they do their best to move toward a green card. The executive order that would affect those visas has not been enacted.