By Noe Ortega
The Associated Students Union and the Dream Resource Center collaborated to inform students and faculty about current policies and legislation yesterday in the Student Service Center.
“So if ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] came to East Los Angeles College, they obviously would go to the student services area and to admissions to get access to student records because they’re going want to know what classes are the undocumented students enrolled in. What I can tell you right now is that we will protect those records like there’s no tomorrow,” said ELAC President Marvin Martinez.
Martinez emphasized that they are here to protect ELAC students and will challenge ICE if they attempt to get information from student services. ELAC is working with the sheriff’s department, Monterey Park Police Department, and South Gate Police Department to network in case ICE is ever around.
The Dream Resource Center provides legal workshops to inform students about what is happening in our community and basically a safe zone for all students who have questions or want someone to talk to.
Los Angeles Community College District is putting together a task force so they can duplicate workshops like the Dream Resource Center for every campus in the district.
Martinez is a part of the Legislative Committee with the Board of Trustees and says that there is lots of activity in the state level that guarantees the privacy for undocumented students and propositions to make California into a sanctuary state.
There is also legislation at the federal level with two republican senators from South Carolina and Arizona that proposed the Bridge Act, which proposes to keep everything the same and leave DACA students alone, at least for another three years.
Los Angeles Community College District is putting together a task force to duplicate what is done in ELAC with the Dream Resource Center. Staff from the Mexican Consulate of Los Angeles came to speak about the importance of knowing legal information for all undocumented people.
“We want you to know that even though we don’t get into politics, we’re here to protect. How? With information.
We work with agencies that we know for sure are telling you the truth of whatever is happening right now,” said Consulate of Mexico in Education Claudia Matus.
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles gave out flyers with information about what you should do if an ICE officer comes to your home and what should be done in preparation for friends and family who are undocumented.
CHIRLA provided Rights Cards filled out with information to hand to a police or ICE officer to exercise one’s right to remain silent whether undocumented or not. “If you pull out this card then you are not going to dig yourself in a hole.
They are going to let you go because the burden on proven that an individual is undocumented it’s on the authority whose detaining you and they’re going to have to work harder,” said CHIRLA Director of Community Education, Miriam Mesa.
It serves as a reminder that everyone has equal rights regardless of legal status. The Dream Resource Center dedicates itself to being a safe zone for everyone and trains staff, faculty and students to know how to work with undocumented and students who identify as LGBTQ.
“As of now we’ve trained about 130 staff, faculty and student workers. The goal for safe zone is to have allies that our students can turn to to ask questions,” said Dream Resource Center worker Elizandro Umana.
Things got emotional when it came to ask questions as ELAC professor Dolores Carlos broke down to tears when she told Martinez to act fast. “I don’t think we can wait a month.
I think whatever it takes, we need more help to accelerate this process, because when we’re in our classes and we see our students so anxious and so fearful and we don’t have anything to offer them I feel like we’re betraying them.” said Carlos.
Members of ASU also gave out information on the Dream Resource center, information on students healthcare, mental health and wellness services, and a flyer about knowing one’s rights.