Queens Trbibune: In the wake of recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, state Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) held an immigration forum at PS 19 on Wednesday night, where he announced “Sanctuary District 13,” a program to protect immigrants in his district. As part of the effort, the Independent Democratic Conference – in partnership with the New York Immigration Coalition, the Vera Institute for Justice, the Black Institute, CAMBA Legal Services and the Central American Legal Assistance – set up the Immigrant Defense Coalition, which will provide legal services and resources to immigrants and their families. The coalition includes an emergency hotline (1-800-213-6385), that was created for individuals to call for assistance with any immigration questions. In addition, further services will be provided through partnerships with immigration non-profits Chhaya Community Development and the Integration and Advancement of New Americans.
As New York leads the way in so many social and economic issues, this is now the time to lead the way in protecting our immigrant families and communities from the threat of the new administration’s unjust policies,” Peralta said. “I urge anyone who may need help to call the hotline number and seek assistance immediately.”
During the forum, representatives from Emerald Isle, Her Justice and CUNY/Citizenship Now joined Peralta in the discussion, answering questions and distributing a “Know Your Rights” information sheet in the event that an individual is stopped by ICE officers.
“I want to make sure that my constituents know that they are not fighting alone against this administration, and this is why it is very important that they know what to do in case officers asked them about their immigration status, if they are approached or if they are taken into custody,” Peralta said.
In addition to the Immigrant Defense Coalition, the offices of all the IDC members will keep their doors open to all immigrants in need of assistance.