Civic academies put together by the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) and Border Interfaith are drawing upwards of 50 parishioners per session eager to learn how to use their civil rights to protect family members from deportation.
Organizers reminded immigrants that they have the right to remain silent, a right to an attorney and not to sign any document given to them by immigration agents without first talking to a lawyer. They also advised family members not to open the door to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant.
"Once they enter, many things can happen. There could be other people in the home. The immigration agents may starting asking, 'You, what's your name? How long have you been here?' ... They came in looking for Arturo and they took Maria, Jose, Raul and several people. So, don't do it. Don't do it."
At a recent session, Rev. Pablo Matta, the pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church told parishioners "You are not alone." He additionally explained, "We are not asking anyone to violate the law. We are using the laws that exist."
Faith Groups Reach Out to Immigrants on Civil Rights, El Paso Times