My Notes from the OLA Immigration and Civil Rights Forum at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Bridgehampton, NY. February 21, 2017

I sat behind these parents with one child sitting on a lap and the other nuzzled against a shoulder. Fear and concern about the future weighs heavy among all who have gathered in this house of worship.

Question from an audience member, “How do I talk to my children about the possibility of a raid?”

“Tell your children you are not a bad person. You came to this country in search of a better life. Tell them you love them and you are doing all you can to protect them.”

“It is not a crime to be an immigrant!”

“Tell your children not to open the door to police or strangers. Immigration warrants only allow for a consensual entry. Opening the door is viewed as consensual.”

“Make an emergency list.”

“Make a plan for the care of your children in the event you get detained.”

“Designate a person you trust, not one that may also be detained, to care for your children if you are detained or deported.”

“Prepare a document for school and doctor stating that your designated person will be watching/caring for your children.”

“Make sure children are prepared to travel if they have to meet up with you after you have been deported.“

“Keep a record of your child’s behavior, on how all of this is impacting them. Collect data on anxiety, changes in behavior at school, depression, etc. These records can be helpful in court, especially if the child is a citizen.”

“Our community will not be paralyzed by fear. We will be pushing back!”

“We have to resist fear, tenemos que resistir miedo. We have to defend each other as a community.”

“We can’t say that if you are a victim of a crime, even domestic abuse, you should report it.”

“We want to know that victims of crime can call the police.”

I watched an elderly Caucasian man get up from his seat on the pew to let a Hispanic woman and child take his seat. He went to sit on the floor in the middle aisle.

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