Bakersfield College hosted a Know Your Rights Workshop with The United Farm Workers Foundation

Charr Davenport, Reporter

The United Farm Workers Foundation (UFW Foundation) partnered with Bakersfield College to hold the Know Your Rights Zoom Workshop for undocumented immigrants on Feb.11. The event was hosted by Bakersfield College’s AB540 Undocumented Students Program Manager Marcela Gamino and featured guest speaker Claudia Lopez, a defense attorney working with the UFW Foundation. 

The event began by covering the basic human and legal rights, the main focus being on the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. “Everyone has legal rights regardless of legal status,” said speaker Claudia Lopez.

The focus of the event was on the topic of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and came up along with the topic of documentation. “It is always important to see documentation because ICE will 100 percent of the time try to trick you,” said Lopez. The event dealt with not carrying items that could potentially out an immigrant, not consenting to searches without a warrant, and not letting authorities inside a house without a warrant authorized by an official judge. “ICE is notorious for trying to get you to self deport. They will try to intimidate you and convince you that it [being deported] is for the best. But you have to stay strong.”

Other advice given related to ICE is getting a legal California Driver’s License, and not giving false or misleading information relative to immigration status to authorities or any legal documents.

The last topic of the workshop was on having a family preparedness plan. “The worst-case scenario is that you or your family breadwinner gets detained and put in a detention center,” said Lopez. “If a person from Mexico is detained at 7 a.m., depending on what they say or if they sign anything, that person can be in Tijuana that same evening.” A family preparedness plan involves having a tough conversation with the entire family, young and old, about legal status, personal documentation, and the plan if anyone in the family should be detained by local or federal law enforcement. That conversation should also extend to short-term and long-term legal guardianship if children are involved. “It’s better to be safe than sorry. We advise having these tough conversations with the family.”

The final words of the event, also said by Lopez, gave a reminder to the current political state and the constant state that undocumented immigrants live in and have lived in for the past 4 years. “We have hope for the next 4 years, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared.”

Bakersfield College and the UFW Foundation plan to hold the Know Your Rights Zoom Workshop again on Feb. 24.