The Sennett Federated Church held an immigration panel discussion on Sunday with the presence of the New York Immigration Coalition, Workers' Center of Central New York and two immigrants who shared their stories of struggle.
Pastor George Huffsmith said he put the event together because he realized there was a lot more to the immigration discussion than he understood, and he wanted to create a space for people to come together to learn, discuss, and hear from those who have lived and experienced it.
"We believe that no human being is illegal. We believe that calling people illegals is wrong, and it's a hate word," said Fabiola Ortiz Valdez, who once immigrated to America and now works as manager of member engagement for the New York Immigration Coalition.
Valdez said there are over 50 million immigrants in the United States, and New York is home to 4.5 million of them. Approximately 11 million immigrants are undocumented, and about 8 percent of them call New York home.