BEND, OR -- This month's "What's Brewing," hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce drew a packed crowd at Deschutes Brewery, Tuesday evening. The panel discussed how changes to national immigration policy could impact Central Oregon's economy.
Immigration attorney Dan Larsson participated in the panel, along with the CEO of Bend-based Five Talent Software Preston Callicott. Larsson told the crowd, "I think Central Oregon will be impacted directly, perhaps, but also indirectly as you have people who want to come and visit the United States and want to come, for example, to Mt. Bachelor and ski, they're going to think twice. And, those are big issues we're going to have to deal with."
Also on the panel was Executive Director of the Latino Community Association, Brad Porterfield. He introduced Gustavo Velez, who came to Oregon from Mexico 20 years ago when he was six. He spoke about when he found out the true nature of his status, "I was a senior in high school and I was offered to get a scholarship to Gonzaga. Then, I was told 'You cannot apply for it; you don't have a legal status.' It was hard." Velez adds, "Right now, with the whole travel ban and all that - my grandma, she's really ill right now. She's the one who raised me when my parents came to this country. I'd like to see her. If I get granted that permit, I don't know if I should take the chance and go see her because I don't know if I'll be able to come back."