Local immigrant advocacy groups are taking action after President Donald Trump announced Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) will raid areas in multiple states in the coming weeks.
The non-profit Arkansas United is hosting forums outlining the rights immigrants have here in Arkansas, and they’re not the only ones stepping in to protect this community.
Irma Chavez, operations director for Arkansas United said, “What the president said by Twitter last week is really scaring our community.”
Trump announced ICE raids on businesses and communities would happen Sunday to deport those who are undocumented.
Then, he delayed the action.
Arkansas isn’t one of the targeted cities, but the non-profit wants to educate people and urge them to stay calm.
Chavez said, “We’re doing this in solidarity with all the other states, with all the brothers and sisters and organizations that are doing their best to train their communities, train their businesses to be ready in case something happens.”
Irvin Camacho, an immigrant rights advocate, said, “The immigrant community is of course very paranoid about the situation, and they are in fear.”
The “Know Your Rights” presentation walks immigrants through what to do in case of deportation.
“We teach them that they have the right to not open the door if they’re in their houses, and the business owners or managers …they have the right to not open the doors due to ICE if they don’t have an official warrant,” Chavez said.
She said she wants to change the mindset that immigrants don’t have any rights.
“Sometimes our community, if they’re undocumented, they think they don’t have any rights because they’re in a country that’s not ours, and they probably think, ‘Oh we don’t have any rights,'” she said.
Camacho leads a group of LatinX youth and allies to educate the community.
He said, “We want to make sure that we protect those immigrants that do have to go through situations like this where their homes get raided, their jobs get raided, or they get stopped in the streets.”
The overall message these groups want to leave is that it’s important to stay calm, because you’re not alone.
Chavez said, “You may say, ‘it’s not going to happen to me’ but if it happens to you it’s good to be prepared.”
A LatinX advocacy group is hosting another “Know Your Rights” forum Wednesday, June 26 at 6:30 at 610 B. E. Emma Ave in Springdale.