A crowd of UNC School of Social Work students, faculty, field instructors and other mental health professionals stood in the school’s lobby around noon on Monday, chatting over plates of barbecue and pasta salad. They slowly filtered into the school’s auditorium, settling into their seats. Faculty members set up a camera for an online live stream.
The School of Social Work hosted its final Clinical Lecture Series of the school year on Monday. The lecture focused on ethics, access, equity and advocacy for non-citizens.
“This is a panel on ethics and advocacy, this is the second one we’ve done this year. The one at the beginning of the year had to do more with access to care, and this one today is more about how do we treat our non-citizens, in particular immigrants and refugees, and the ethics around that,” said Debbie Barrett, a clinical associate professor in the School of Social Work and the Department of Psychology.
The panelists, Ana S. Nuñez, Viridiana Martinez and Nelitza D. Gonzalez, each had 30 minutes to describe the most pressing issues in their specific areas and explain how they thought social workers should address these problems. Then, there was time for audience Q&A after the panelists spoke.
Nuñez is a practicing attorney at Fay & Grafton in Raleigh specializing in immigration and criminal defense law. Nuñez said she works in affirmative immigration, meaning most of her clients are not being actively pursued for deportation. She said a big issue in her work is the shifting, uncertain nature of immigration law.