Mexican and Guatemalan consuls are urging immigrants to be prepared and not panic in the wake of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation last week that resulted in 161 arrests in six Southern California counties.
In today’s immigration landscape, this means preparing for potential deportation.
“It’s as if you’re preparing for a hurricane or a natural emergency. Apply that idea,” said Mario Cuevas Zamora, the Mexican consul for Santa Ana.
This message jibes with a statement from the Mexican government that alerted its nationals of the “new reality” they’re facing in the United States. The statement was issued after an Arizona woman, who had regularly checked in with U.S. immigration officials, was deported Wednesday.
“The entire Mexican community should take precautions and stay in touch with the nearest consulate, to obtain the necessary help to face this kind of situation,” the statement read.
Immigrants need to set up a family plan, said Cuevas, the Mexican consul for Santa Ana.
This involves securing original copies of their birth certificates, passports, and matricular consular cards, Cuevas said. If legal permanent residents qualify, they should seek citizenship, he added. And, if their children are U.S. born, foreign-born parents should register their children in their country of origin.
On top of that, immigrants need to know their rights, Cuevas said.
They don’t have to open their door if Immigration and Customs Enforcement is knocking or reveal their immigration status. And if they are arrested, they have a right to ask to speak with their nearest consulate.
“An informed person will make the right decisions,” Cuevas said.
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