President Trump has made anti-immigrant rhetoric throughout his campaign and is working to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that was started by the Obama Administration in 2012. Currently, over 750,000 immigrants are protected under the DACA program (Mercury News). It’s clear that many young immigrants are feeling anxious and uncertain in the days to come in the new paradigm. While this situation is uncertain, let us be certain about our commitment to each other. Let us strengthen our will to be a welcoming community that embraces the immense benefits of diversity and inclusion. All in our community, especially those who feel vulnerable as a result should feel safe and secure at The Foundation for Hispanic Education.
The Foundation for Hispanic Education is working closely with students and families who feel threatened by the new political climate. The first step that we must take in order to protect our students, we must identify those who are considered at risk of running into immigration issues. Make contact with the students and their families to provide them with the reassurance they need. All children in the United States have the right to a free public education regardless of citizenship status. The Foundation’s three schools are safe zones, meaning that immigration enforcement will not be allowed in our schools nor will we distribute any private information about our students and their families. Another step we must take to ensure our families is to encourage them to find out about their rights and options. Families can find immigration legal help on the Immigration Advocates Network’s national directory of more than 950 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers. The directory can be found online at https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org. Families can also look for a community education events or legal services workshop through Ready California, a statewide collaborative of service providers. During this time of uncertainty, families also need to be aware fraudulent immigration services providers that are taking advantage of the situation. The Immigration Legal Resource Center has created a “warnings sign” list about fraudulent legal services, the forms will be posted on tfhe.org under the Community Engagement page.
It’s also important to tell our families that they have rights even if the do not have legal citizenship. They have the right to call the police, fire department and other first responders if they are a victim of a crime without having to answer the question of where they are from. They do not have to answer their door to an immigration official without an official warrant from a judge. Without creating panic, encourage families to be prepared in case new immigration policies are to become a reality. Families need to follow the news to see what develops and what will most affect them. Mixed-status families are vulnerable to being separated if family members are undocumented. Parents should know that if they have not been deported before, they have a right to hearing before a judge. They cannot be deported without a hearing.
The Foundation for Hispanic Education will be providing its schools with helpful resources such as Know Your Rights flyers & immigration red cards, legal services referral sheets and anti-fraud brochures in regards to immigration. The Foundation is also planning to hold a resource fair to provide our schools and community with information on immigration, health care, environmental awareness and more. As a Foundation, we are dedicated to preserving a community of peace and unity for our students, families, and staff.