“Conversation on Immigration”

Date:  Sunday, February 24, 2008
Speaker:  Tony Yapias

Tony Yapias is a native of Junin, Peru. In 1981 at the age of 14 he immigrated to the United States. He lived in Evanston, Wyoming where he attended High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Currently, Tony is the Scoutreach Director for the Boy Scouts of America in the Great Salt Lake Council serving Latino and ethnic minority youth in After-School programs. In 2003, he was appointed to Director for the State Office of Hispanic Affairs by former Governor Michael O. Leavitt. He was the first Peruvian born to be appointed to this position. He continued to serve as Director under Governor Olene Walker until 2005. As Hispanic Affairs Director, he was responsible for advising the governor on issues that impact the Latino community.

Since September 11, 2001, the immigration debate in Utah has increased in intensity. Prior to September 11, 2001, then Governor Michael Leavitt and the Utah legislature passed a law to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a Utah driver’s license. Later in 2002, the Legislature passed HB-144 which allows undocumented immigrants who graduated from a Utah high school to continue their higher education in Utah’s public colleges and universities at an “in-state tuition” rate. Since 2002, dozens of proposed bills targeting immigrants and reversing these positions have been presented without success at the Legislature, although with each passing year, the debate has become stronger. This presentation with Tony Yapias will review the history of current immigration policy, its impact on undocumented workers and the U.S. economy and society, and will encourage discussion of the consequences of various legal measures currently proposed.

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“Harm to Home in 2007” Resettlement of Refugees in Utah by the International Rescue Committee

Date:  Sunday, February 10, 2008
Speaker:  Patrick Poulin

Patrick Poulin is the Resettlement Director for the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Salt Lake City Resettlement Office. Mr. Poulin previously worked as the Executive Director of Travelers Aid Society (currently know as The Road Home). He also established a program in Cote d’Ivoire serving women and children refugees fleeing from the civil war in Liberia. He has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Utah and is a licensed clinical social worker. Patrick has served many low-income and vulnerable populations in Utah, including welfare recipients, the homeless, and those with mental illness. Mr. Poulin also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa in the early 1980s.

In 2007, the International Rescue Committee resettled 521 refugees from Burundi, Burma, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Cuba, Liberia, the former Soviet Union, and a myriad of other people who can not return to their homeland due to a well founded fear of persecution or death.

Patrick Poulin, will review the populations resettled in Utah by IRC during 2007. He will discuss the challenges and opportunities assisting these vulnerable populations leaving war torn countries to move “from harm to home” in their new lease for a safe life in the United States. Mr. Poulin will also offer perspectives on recent efforts to increase the capacity to serve refugees in our community.

Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is one of the oldest and largest non-profit, nonsectarian voluntary organization providing relief, protection, and resettlement services to refugees and victims of oppression or violent conflict. The IRC has provided resettlement services in Salt Lake City since 1994.

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Click to access raisingchildreninanewcountry_web.pdf