Local Community's Voices Heard on Immigration

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Panama City's Florida State University and Gulf Coast State College held a forum to discuss immigration in America Tuesday night.

To speak, listen, and deliberate were asked of the community.

"Rarely do we get together into a room with different aged people, who don't know each other, and talk about a difficult topic," Dr. Virginia York, one of the forum's organizers, said.

"We don't really talk about our views without shouting at each other," Sammie Walker, a Bay High School student, said.

Speakers opened the discussion with three popular and very different opinions on the issue: to welcome immigrants, to enforce the laws, or shut down and rebuild our common bonds.

"Immigration needs to be reformed, it needs to be reformed from the ground up," Walker said.

Many spoke at the forum.
"We can sometimes be prideful Americans and think we're too good for things," one attendee said.

Others listened.

"The quiet ones learn the most because they really are listening," York said.

Immigrants and children of immigrants spoke to their experiences.

"My parents who are here with me today escaped political persecution in the early 80's," one woman said.

Key thoughts from the discussions were then written on the wall. 

Representatives from Neal Dunn, Senators Rubio and Nelson, and Jay Trumbull's offices were all listening attentively. 

"These representatives will tell our lawmakers what was said tonight," York said.

The representatives all pledged to relay the discussions to our lawmakers after the forum.

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