On March 11, 2018 American Friends Service Comminute (AFSC) Pan Valley Institute organized a Know Your Rights Training in Madera, CA along with key community leaders. There was a presentation by Leticia Lopez fellow of AFSC, Silas Shawver who is an attorney with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and Joshua Longoria who is an attorney with the New American Clinic.
This workshop came only a few weeks after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity in the Central Valley that caused panic and distraught among the undocumented community. Due to ICE activity, families were separated leaving behind those most vulnerable, our children. The fear prompted many to stay home to avoid going to public spaces but, it also served as a reminder that the best tool they can have to combat this fear is by knowing their rights.
We had the participation of more than 30 people who came out to inform themselves about their rights in case ICE shows either at their homes, at work or public spaces as well like seen in the recent ICE swept. Many expressed their concern about the recent ICE activity and wanted to know if they could possibly qualify under the current law for legalization. There were many families who came with their children and shared their concerns about leaving their children behind in case they are detained. Parents expressed confusion in regard to the duration and guidelines of whether notarizing is required for the document that leaves a friend or family member with custody of their children. It was clarified that the form does not need to be notarized, that it’s one form per child and valid for six months.
The community expressed the need for more workshops like this one. They know that under the current administration, ICE activity will be more prevalent and they know that the best tool they can have is to be informed. We reminded them that we should not panic and as much as possible continue with regular activities such as sending children to school, going to work and continuing to participate in workshops such as this one.