In a recent inauguration event at the Mexican Consulate in Omaha, Mexican Consul Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar had this to say: “We are ready and are capable of defending our fellow countrymen.”
This happened during the inauguration of the “Centro de Defensoria” (Advocacy Center), a project from the Mexican government that is being replicated in all 50 Consulates to provide legal aid to Mexican immigrants in the United States.
The aforementioned initiative has been established due to the uncertainty generated by the changes from President Trump to immigration, changes that are hitting immigrants hard – immigrants among which there is a large number of Mexicans.
The Consulate called for a meeting of community leaders and other members who want to participate in helping vulnerable immigrants, and they all joined Consul Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar during the inauguration event.
Consul Sanchez talked about the goal of the Mexican government. It is a big public effort from the Consulate after months of actions against immigrants in Omaha and the rest of the country.
The task of the Advocacy Center is not an easy one considering the current immigration and deportation laws are constantly evolving.
The Mexican Consulate now has a bigger workload with hundreds of daily visits which are twice as large as the statistics for previous months. Unfortunately, this means there’s a need for more staff and more lawyers to provide legal aid for those who need it.
The legal panorama isn’t clear even for those providing legal aid. Their availability and desire to help means they have to be ready for any chances on a day-to-day basis.
Emiliano Lerda, executive director for Justice for Our Neighbors, had this to say: “We have also seen an increase in the number of people who seek our legal services and we are ready to continue providing our support to the community with free legal aid.”
Mariana Santa-Maria, supervisor of the Common Sense Parenting program at Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa, showed her solidarity with the Mexican’s Consulate initiative.
In front of the uncertainty over the personal information that might be leaked to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Santa-Maria said that, as is the case for the Mexican Consulate, “the information of our clients is confidential and protected. It will never be provided to anyone outside of our organization.”
The meeting ended with a commitment from those in attendance for continuing to protect undocumented immigrants.
After the comments from experts, we can summarize things by saying that the best ally for us immigrants at this critical crossroad is knowing that we have human and process rights no matter our immigration status.
Know your rights.