Forum for undocumented immigrants teaches legal rights

Legal rights for undocumented immigrants

SAN ANTONIO -- Undocumented immigrants are concerned about their future under a Donald Trump presidency.

On Thursday, the Texas Organizing Project, a member-based organization that promotes civic engagement, held an immigration forum at Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church. They addressed concerns and reviewed the legal rights of undocumented immigrants.

Leticia Vargas, a volunteer for TOP, is also an undocumented immigrant. Like many other undocumented immigrants, she remains fearful after the election.

Vargas came to Texas from Guardalavaca, Mexico when she was about 2 years old. Vargas is putting herself through college and has plans to become an attorney to help other immigrant families.

"We deserve an opportunity to show and prove that there are people like me and other students, who actually go to school, who have good grades, who deserve an opportunity to stay in this country and represent this country," Vargas said.

On CBS's 60 Minutes, Trump said he has narrowed his sights on removing or incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the United States. Catherine Norris, an attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and TOP's guest speaker, says that many are concerned about deportations and raids.

"We're talking about basic rights you have when you are approached by an immigration official or police official. A lot of them boil down to: You have the right to remain silent, the right to speak to an attorney, the right to not sign anything," Norris noted.

Among the other top concerns, undocumented immigrants are worried about the possible termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. Through DACA, undocumented children can to go to school and potentially work in the United States. President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal the executive order.

"That has been one of the most commonly mentioned programs that the president intends to do away with, because not only was it not something passed by Congress, but it wasn't even an executive action. It was established by a memo," Norris said.

TOP's immigration forum also had a Q&A for attendees.

(© 2016 KENS)


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