Immigration is topic of community forum

How is Lincoln County affected by the current national immigration dialog? What are the economic and societal effects locally? What are the public safety issues for all residents?

Go beyond the headlines and join the discussion with community leaders on Friday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. during a forum that will be held in the community room at Oregon Coast Community College, located at 400 SE College Way in South Beach.

The panel of four will begin the program, followed by an open discussion period with audience participation.

One of the panel members will be Pastor Bob Barrett, of the Yachats Community Presbyterian Church, who just returned from a trip to the Mexican border. He will share some of his experiences and observations. Prior to becoming an ordained minister, Barrett worked as a developmental disabilities case manager for the state of Connecticut and later for the county mental health department in Winfield, Kansas. When not preaching or otherwise engaged in church work, he can be found advocating, agitating, instigating and protesting; working for a just world

Also on the panel will be Katie Moss, an activist and volunteer from Yamhill County. Last summer, she found herself in the center of a human rights crisis with immigrants being held at a local federal prison, co-housed with criminals and violent offenders. She organized a group of volunteers to pick up these asylum seekers when they were released. They were taken to safe shelters. The men would stay an average of one night at a center, enough time to coordinate their next steps. Moss continues to organize the same group of volunteers to give rides to, and raise money for families whose fathers and husbands are held in detention centers across the West Coast.

Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers will also be on the panel. He has been with sheriff’s office for 31 years, holding positions of records/property clerk, corrections deputy, patrol deputy, patrol supervisor, administrative lieutenant and now sheriff since June of 2016. Landers attended the FBI National Academy, the Oregon State Sheriff Association Command College, the supervisory and middle management courses and possess an executive certification from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

Pastor Angel Torres, associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Newport, will be the fourth panel member. He is in charge of the church’s Hispanic ministry, working closely with immigrants. Torres went to Bible college in Texas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology. He is married and has two sons, both attend Newport High School. Torres has been a pastor for more than 20 years — 15 in Spain and five in Newport.

This community event is sponsored by KYAQ Community Radio Station, the National Organization of Women and the Yachats Community Presbyterian Church.

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