NORTH BEND, OR. -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden held two of his annual town hall meetings on Friday, one of which was at North Bend High School.
At the town hall meeting at North Bend High School, community members, skilled workers, and high school students all asked questions about things they’re most concerned about in their community and across the nation.
The questions asked by several of the nearly 150 people at the town hall covered a variety of topics.
High school students asked questions about the opioid epidemic here in Oregon, and what could be done to help.
Another student asked about illegal immigration here in the United States.
A North Bend student asked, “With respect to being a nation of laws, should we arrest and deport illegal immigrants, and prevent the hiding of illegal immigrants and let ICE do its job?”
Wyden responded by saying he doesn’t think the answer is to round them up and send them back to where they came from.
Rather, he said we should strengthen our borders, find them paths to citizenship if they’re contributing to society, and make sure they understand and pay a penalty for breaking the law.
“I’m for people, I’m for technology, but I’m not for spending $25 billion on a wall. But, I’m for strengthening the border. Number one. Number two, you enforce the laws that are on the books.”
Another big topic at the town hall was skilled workers.
The need for more skilled workers and apprenticeships was discussed, as well as the need for more projects like the Jordan Cove Pipeline.
“These types of projects are incredibly important to our members and all of the other trades, to be able to have continuity to bring these numbers of apprentices through,” said Lou Christian, Business Manager of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290.
Wyden replied by saying, “I want you to know I’m going to continue to support them. As you know, we have had a back and forth with the Trump administration because of the possibility they may cut some of those programs. I’m going to use my seat on the budget committee to force square support for training programs, apprentice programs, and others.”
Senator Wyden will be holding a third town hall meeting in at Driftwood Elementary School in Port Orford on Saturday at 9:30 in the morning.