Leticia Romano and Ariel Kelly presented a program on Corazon Healdsburg and immigrant legal services for our community.
Leticia Romano and Ariel Kelly presented a program on Corazon Healdsburg and immigrant legal services for our community.
Leticia has been with Corazon Healdsburg since its inception on October 30, 2016. She is currently the Executive Director. She has worked as a community organizer for many years, starting in Santa Rosa. She worked with Mi Casa in Ukiah before coming to Healdsburg to help form Corazon in our community. The mission statement of Corazon Healdsburg is to "bridge the racial and economic divisions in our community and to support multiculturalism by taking collective action surrounding the social determinants of health." They are closely affiliated with Health Action, a countywide program whose goal is to make Sonoma County the healthiest county in California by the year 2020. This part of the project is being spearheaded through the Allianza Medical Center in Healdsburg.
Corazon is organized as a "bottom up" organization taking community needs as determined by meetings with community members and consolidating them into concepts which are then presented to higher levels of governmental organizations to help bring about change in policy and action. Their organization prides itself on being multicultural, community oriented with community events, working to achieve collective action, and providing a resource center for members of the community.
In the past two or three months, most of their activity has been focusing Know Your Rights regarding Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE). They have affiliations with Immigration Legal Clinic that makes quarterly visits from their headquarters in San Francisco. They also work with Central Legal de la Raza from Oakland. Volunteer lawyers provide pro bono work for all issues regarding immigration issues.
There is an organizational committee of approximately 28 people that meets monthly.. Corazon plans to participate in the FFA parade as well as take one or two van loads of people over to Immigrants Day in Sacramento on May 15.
Ariel Kelly gave a detailed presentation on Know Your Rights which is probably one of the most important areas affecting our immigrant population. The current heightened executive orders to enforce regulations placed in effect by Congress are resulting in increased numbers of arrests of immigrant people. Immigration is managed through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Control (CBC) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Pres. Obama deported 3 million immigrants over his eight-year term in office. Pres. Trump plans to deport 2 million per year, up to 11 million who he claims are in this country illegally.
Ariel spoke greatly about "due process". Everyone in America has rights under the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures and rights under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent when faced with the prospect of arrest.
She made a point of distinguishing between public and private places. Administrative warrants, typically given by a commanding officer to deputies, do not require a judge’s review and can only be enforced in public places. Judicial warrants require the signature of a judge after reviewing the details of the case and primarily apply to most people in their homes and private places at business. Without a search warrant officers are not allowed to enter a private area. The search warrant must have the proper name, the address of the place being served, and the purpose for serving the warrant specified.
Information regarding how to respond when approached by officers from DHS/ICE is presented on a "RED CARD" that can be handed to ICE agents if you are approached. People are encouraged never to open their door to an ICE agent, demand to see the warrant, either displayed through a window or slid under the door without opening it. In most cases the officers will not have a valid warrant. The red card also reminds the immigrant to remain silent and to not sign any documents as well as to ask for a lawyer.
Ariel also stressed the importance of a family preparedness plan dealing with what to do with children and other dependents, who may access bank accounts, phone numbers of other people to contact, as well as telephone numbers for legal-assistive services.
Copies of the red cards and the family preparedness worksheet were given to all members at the meeting.