The OCRCC mourns and condemns the sudden and violent removal of over 225 North Carolinians from their homes and families by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over the past week. Day after day we wake to the horrifying news that our neighbors have been snatched from their children’s hands while walking them to school, taken from their places of work without the chance to warn their families, and rounded up as collateral in what ICE officials have publically indicated is a politically motivated retaliation against local communities for their election of sheriffs who have resisted the ICE agenda.
Those of us who have felt the terror of interpersonal violence– as survivors and as advocates supporting survivors day in and day out—feel a twinge of recognition in these stories. Whether interpersonal or state-sponsored, terror is terror. Trauma is trauma. Any violation of the right to safety and bodily autonomy is a violation we must fight. What’s more, we must recognize that our mission to end sexual violence and its impact requires that we stand up against any move to increase vulnerability for already vulnerable people. Over the last couple of years as anti-immigrant rhetoric and violence has ramped up across the country, agencies like ours that provide critical services to immigrant and refugee populations see how hard it has become for clients to continue (or even begin) their healing. Survivors living at the intersections of interpersonal and state violence face difficult questions that interfere with an already daunting walk down the path towards healing — questions like: How can I speak up about the violence I’ve experienced if I can’t trust the very institutions that I’m supposed to report to? How can I seek relief without risking deportation for myself or my harm-doer, on whom my family relies? Why risk the drive to my therapy appointments? How can I concentrate on healing from my sexual abuse when I wake up every day terrified that I won’t get to see my children again?
The OCRCC envisions a just and equitable world free of sexual violence and all other forms of oppression. We stand in solidarity with the brave Latinx-led movements organizing for an end to the ICE raids and support for the families already impacted by them. If you are looking for ways to support their work, see below for a list of helpful actions compiled by local Latinx leaders.
Plan for Safety
Know Your Rights and learn what do to if ICE is at your door. Even if they’re not there for you, knowing your rights can provide a critical safety measure to someone else in your home or place of business.
Extra Credit: If you are a business owner or part of an organization, consider your policies regarding what you do when ICE and/or law enforcement knocks at your door. Decide what your organization’s protocol will be to keep everyone safe, and make sure everyone (especially those who may answer the door or greet customers) knows it, too.
If you can, please OFFER RIDES to those you know who are undocumented/have DACA.
The following guide to safety planning was prepared for our client services staff by a local attorney. Please feel free to share this with anyone you work with:
Steps clients can take, in order to prepare things, in the event of being detained/deported:
- Create a power of attorney
- Burgos will be in the office on Thursday 2/21 and she is happy to do those for clients free of charge
If a survivor is pulled over by an ICE agent or detained by an ICE agent:
- Tell the agent that they are asserting their right to remain silent (they must say this, they cannot simply remain silent, the right must be affirmatively asserted)
- Tell the agent they want an attorney
- They will not be assigned a Public Defender when they ask for an attorney, our friend, Atty. Pahola Burgos will be sharing a list of immigration attorneys that do pro-bono and low-bono work so that we can share it with our clients
- Do not sign anything!
If ICE agents come to a survivor’s door:
- Don’t open the door, but keep calm. You have rights!
- Ask why they are there, and ask for an interpreter if necessary
- IF they ask to come into your house, ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge
- If they have it, ask them to show it to you (either through the window or by slipping it under the door)
- If they don’t have a warrant signed by a judge, you can refuse entry into your home. Ask them to leave whatever information they may have by your door
- IF they come in by force
- Do not resist
- Tell everyone that is present in the home to remain silent
- If they arrest you
- Assert your right to remain silent
- Ask for an attorney
- Do NOT sign anything!
- Please note that an administrative ICE form I-200 or I-205 is NOT a warrant signed by a judge
Liberation, Not Deportation Regional Fund El Centro Hispano and The Hispanic Liaison have joined forces to create a “Liberation Not Deportation Regional Fund” to help pay for the legal representation fees for families impacted by these raids in Orange, Durham, Chatham, Lee, Randolph and Wake counties. All donations will be used to help our families stand a chance to reunite with their loved ones.
Donations for Durham Families of Detained Individuals All of the money collected by Mi Maletin through this form will be used to purchase supplies for families who are missing breadwinners on account of their family members being detained. Mi Maletin has done this at the request of Durham community leaders. Any questions should be directed to Polanco Law at firstname.lastname@example.org, as the Polanco Law firm along with the Gardner Law firm is leading the response effort to assist the families affected.
Triad Rapid Response Team Student Action with Farmworkers is organizing a rapid response network of volunteers who can respond on scene at reported or suspected ICE raids to observe, record, and distribute information about detainees rights. If you have 2+ hours of availability and personal transportation, sign up to learn more here.
Intervene as an Ally
Witnessing a raid or detention is scary. Here is a recommended plan form local Latinx organization RadarSafe:
If you see a raid happening, call your local hotline RadarSafe at 1-800-559-8714. (Nat’l hotline: 1-844-363-1423.) Record the badge numbers of agents, type of car, location and exactly what happened. It’s important to get the most accurate information possible. Take photos if possible.
If you are in the process of witnessing a detention, START RECORDING IT IMMEDIATELY. If you can, ask the detainees their families’ names and contact info so that they can be notified, and ask where the detainees are being taken. You have a right to be present, observing, bearing witness, praying, photographing and videotaping (though your right to videotape a law enforcement action may vary by state). If ICE warns you and asks you to step back while videoing/photographing, it is best to follow directions, as they may confiscate your camera.
Petition the Governor If you are part of an organization, considering signing on this petition condemning the ICE raids and calling on Governor Cooper to do the same.
Call your Elected Officials: Consider calling on your elected officials to pressure ICE to leave our communities and refocus their efforts on international crime syndicates and trafficking circles instead of our friends and neighbors, and schools. For Orange County, your US Senator and Representatives are:
The following organizations work day in and day out to advocate for the Latinx community across NC. Connect with these organizations to stay informed and find ways to provide ongoing support.