Local undocumented community members were welcomed on to campus Monday to learn about their rights and how to act if U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers were to come to their homes.
“You have a right to an attorney,” said Mariah Thompson with the National Lawyers Guild. “Stay silent and never speak unless an attorney is present, and never open the [front] door – not to the police or ICE – without being shown a warrant signed by a judge.”
The workshop informed the community about the challenges ICE may present and what to look out for.
“They do have a right to lie to you and mislead you,” Thompson said. “Always be cautious about this and, frankly, be suspicious.”
The event also went over key phrases to use if an ICE official confronts any undocumented person.
“Three key phrases to say are: ‘I am exercising the right to stay silent;’ ‘I want to talk to an attorney;’ and ‘I don’t consent to a search,’” Thompson said.
The meeting addressed fears brought on by the current political climate and what the tone being set for undocumented immigrants.
“You’re panicked about your family, for yourself, for your communities and it’s valid,” attorney Aida Macedo said. “What’s happening is not something that should be happening in the U.S. It is up to everybody here in the undocumented community to change the political craziness that is happening. To inform ourselves and to be really stern about our rights.”
Local activist Luis Ojeda said some students feel it’s important to inform the public about their rights and what kind of safety they have.
“[This] is an-eye opening event,” student David Vargas said. “Even if you don’t support the immigration debate, it’s important to at least get the perspective of what these undocumented people are going through.”