“There are a lot of young people in this community who are worried,” said Rockford attorney Linda Zuba. “They thought they did what they were supposed to do, they don’t have a criminal record, they’ve been here their whole lives and now they don’t know what to do,” she added.
Latino leaders and members of the Hispanic community met at St. Edwards Catholic Church Sunday to discuss concerns that they have had in light of President Trump’s recent Executive Order on immigration, which they believe has painted a negative light on immigrants.
“We have a president who is reinforcing very negative stereotypes about immigrants,” said immigration attorney Sarah Dady. “It puts the whole community at risk, all Latinos, ones who are U.S. citizens, ones who are here lawfully, and it creates a very hostile, threatening atmosphere,” Dady added.
The goal of the meeting was for leaders to share what legal and human rights the Hispanic community has.
“I hope people that come today, U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, people who are here lawfully, and people who know people who are undocumented we’ll walk away knowing what their rights are,” said Dady.
“There a certain due process rights, certain work rights, certain ability to challenge different policies. So we want to make sure that these questions get answered in a non-politcal forum,” added Patrick Winn, the Director Of Catholic Services for The Diocese of Rockford.
Victoria Delarosa, a program manager for the citizenship program at ‘Justice For Our Neighbors’, believes that support is what will allow for greater understanding of the challenges some face.
“Whether you are a citizen, whether you are a permanent resident, or somebody in the country without legal status, what’s important is that we support each other,” said Delarosa.
Local leaders hope to have more meetings in the future on immigration in order for residents to know their rights.