In wake of Trump, students prepare

James Wyatt, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Be prepared. Know your rights. Save your money.

Bismark Torrez, lead organizer of the North Bay Immigrant Youth Union, holds seminars to teach the rights of undocumented immigrants. Due to President Donald Trump’s aggressive deportation rhetoric, Torrez tries to prepare students and families to handle a confrontation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Torrez’s sessions explain an immigrants rights depending on their location, whether at home, at an employer, in a car or on the streets.

Torrez’s main points are to educate yourself, spread that knowledge to others and to form plans in case of an encounter.

“Stay calm and get into the mentality of understanding what can happen and accepting that it can happen, but refuse to let it happen,” Torrez said.

Torrez recommends saving $5,000 to $20,000 in anticipation to cover bail and lawyer fees. Other main points include: not opening your door to ICE, remaining silent during questioning, which is protected by the Fifth Amendment, checking the validity of search warrants, and to record any raids so they can be investigated later.

President Trump’s deportation threats and travel ban scare Santa Rosa Junior College students. After attending Torrez’s session some felt more comfortable knowing their rights.

“It’s scary because I have friends and family who are undocumented and a lot of people ask me what I can do to help and I say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’” said Graciela Gutierrez, SRJC student. “Now I can tell them to go see a lawyer or write a letter at least, that way you can fight for your children when you get back.”

Torrez explained undocumented immigrants do not have the luxury to not formulate a plan in the event of an ICE raid coming for them, their families or neighbors. It is important to be able to identify the appearance of an ICE agent so you are able to warn others.

Here at SRJC, in the event in the event of an ICE raid, undocumented students are encouraged to make their way to the E.O.P.S. room on the second floor of Bertolini Hall where they will physically lock the doors to keep ICE out.

“Several staff members, faculty members from the J.C. would then come in and stand outside each of our doors both here and at the Petaluma campus to block ICE agents,” said Rafael Vasquez, SRJC E.O.P.S. outreach coordinator.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Feb. 25 SRJC will be hosting an immigration clinic in Emeritus Hall. The clinic will go over specific rights immigrants have.

If you have questions regarding immigration rights please email [email protected]