Local organization’s ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign focuses on anti-deportation training
A local organization is holding training sessions for residents who want to become familiar with their rights, and learn how to document any abuse by law enforcement.
La Union del Pueblo Entero has held three “Know Your Rights” training sessions this month, and 32 sessions since the presidential election.
Alberta Ramirez, a mother of nine, took a "Know Your Rights" training out of an everyday fear of having to see her family separated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"The only crime that we've committed is coming here in search of a better future for our family,” Ramirez said. “I hope the president realizes that not all of us are the same. One person that doesn't respect the law, doesn't include us all.”
LUPE’s initiative focuses on having as many Rio Grande Valley adults, and even children, trained on what to do regarding deportation.
"It's a situation that's very high intensity--lots of emotion and if you don't already know your rights at that moment, then likely you're not going to be able to defend yourself and defend your rights in that situation,” said LUPE Communications Coordinator John Michael Torres.
Torres said documenting any interaction with immigration or police officers is important, and may be a powerful tool when defending cases against deportation.
"I think it's important because if my parents get deported, I can take videos, just in case, they're not doing their job right,” said 10-year-old Aracely Ramirez, who attended a training.
Torres added that signing any document without your lawyer present can mean giving your rights away.
Nearly 600 Valley residents have attended the “Know Your Rights” training sessions.