Indivisible KSQ commits to providing Hispanic population with information
Indivisible KSQ, the grass roots group that has galvanized in recent months on the strength of its support of immigrant rights in the Southern Chester County Hispanic community, took another bold step last Saturday morning when it stepped up its efforts to get information into the hands of the local Hispanic population, that gives them advice and counsel about what to do when facing deportation.
Before an audience of 100 at the Kennett Friends Meeting House, Diana Rarig, Karen D'Agusto and Maja Murphy of Indivisible KSQ's Legal Committee gave a presentation that focused on five needs for the local Hispanic population: finding additional notaries, which are required by Pennsylvania law, in addition to two witness for power-of-attorney; developing a handout for those who deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); providing the community with information when they are taken into custody; finding additional sources of financial assistance to help pay for bonds after being arrested; and filling a need for more assistance to those who assume power of attorney of children if the childrens' parents are deported.
Working from an existing manual it found on the website of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles entitled “Preparing Your Family for Immigration Enforcement,” the committee plans to develop a similar manual, applicable to Pennsylvania laws, that it will share with La Communidad Hispana in Kennett Square, St. Rocco in Avondale, and at stores and businesses frequented by members of the Hispanic community.
The committee has also developed 500 laminated “rights” cards that its volunteers plan to distribute throughout the local Hispanic communities, which individuals and family members can give to ICE officials when they are approached by them. Written in both English and Spanish, the card reads: “I am giving you this card because I do not wish to speak to you or have any further contact with you. I choose to exercise my right to remain silent and refuse to answer your questions. If you arrest me, I will continue to exercise my right to remain silent and refuse to answer your questions. I want to speak to a lawyer before answering your questions.”
The card also directs the card holder to the names and phone numbers of immigration attorneys Lindsey Sweet and Katelyn Hufe. The committee is looking to print an additional 500 cards, for distribution.
Rarig said the committee recently met with Sweet to discuss the possibility of establishing an account that those who are detained may be able to access in the event that they are arrested by ICE officials. The cost of paying these bonds fluctuates; an individual who does not have a criminal record can expect to pay a bond in the amount of $1,500, and if they have a criminal record, the amount of that bond can cost up to $20,000. Until they pay that bond, they are still incarcerated, often as far away as York, Philadelphia, Northern Pennsylvania or Ohio.
“The dilemma in this is that they are not with their families, they're not working, so we came up with the idea to ask for donations to set up an account, to allow individuals to borrow money from the account, in order to pay the bond and get back home,” Rarig said.
The whole purpose of the account, she said, is to allow individuals to get back to their families as soon as possible.
The committee also addressed what to do with children who are left behind if both parents are detained or deported. Much of this work, the committee found, is currently being done by La Communidad Hispana and the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia.
The committee also compiled a list of legal resources that it plans to get to the Hispanic community. (See “Legal Resources for Hispanic Community.”)
Indivisible KSQ's next meeting will be held on April 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Kennett Friends Meeting House. Sweet is scheduled to speak about legal rights for immigrants. Spanish translation and child care will be provided.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail email@example.com.
Legal Resources for Hispanic Community
Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center: www.pirclaw.org/resources/individuals
Chester County Bar Association: www.chescobar.org
Pennsylvania Immigrant Citizenship Coalition (PICC): http://paimmigrant.org
Sweet and Paciorek, LLC, immigration law: www.sweetpaciorek.com
Gian-Grasso, Tomczak & Hufe, immigration law: www.gthpc.com
Notifica.us: An application for a smart phone or phone of a family member to send an immediate message to a support group in case of emergency.
Source: Indivisible KSQ's Legal Committee