Don’t drive with a cracked windshield, or tinted windows or with a rosary hanging from your rearview mirror.

It gives officers probable cause to stop your car.

If a cop comes to your door, don’t answer it. If they have a search warrant, don’t talk to them. Most of all, always be polite. Even if you disagree with the officer confronting you.

“Do you really think these police officers are there to gather information to help you?” Bakersfield attorney Daniel Rodriguez asked. “What do you think? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, whether you’re a documented or undocumented rocket scientist.”

That’s some of the advice a panel of 15 lawyers delivered to a packed, standing-room-only group of immigrants — some of whom were undocumented — at Cal State Bakersfield Tuesday. Those individuals are now navigating complicated immigration laws and federal directives that are changing on a weekly basis under the Trump administration.

The forum allowed undocumented immigrants to ask for free legal advice from the Immigration Justice Collaborative, a group of local attorneys who formed to give undocumented immigrants representation, said H.A. Sala, an attorney who helped form the group.

The town hall meeting came the same day that the Department of Homeland Security unveiled plans for sweeping immigration enforcement policies directing agents to capture and deport any undocumented immigrants. It also called for the hiring of 10,000 more immigration agents and increased the ability of local police to assist in immigration enforcement.

CSUB officials were quick to quell fears among undocumented students Tuesday.

“Our university police do not arrest or detain or contact suspected undocumented immigrants,” Provost Jenny Zorn said. “It is the intention of our campus community to support our students and protect their rights.”

But that does little to assuage worries of Dreamers, or those students who were brought to the country during childhood and later enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a federal immigration policy enacted under the Obama administration. That policy ensures Dreamers would not be deported if they had no criminal record and also provides them renewable two-year work permits.

President Trump vowed on the campaign trail to dismantle the program on “day one.”

Since then, he’s appeared to soften his stance, saying that he’d “show great heart” when dealing with DACA, and that it’s a “very, very difficult subject” for him.

Pedro Villalobos, a 22-year-old UC Santa Barbara graduate who was brought to the U.S. at two months old and is enrolled in DACA, described the president’s rhetoric as “meaningless,” pointing to DACA students swept up in immigration raids under his administration who were never detained under the Obama administration.

His mother, Carmen, called on other DACA parents Tuesday night to form a support group as they wade through changing immigration policies.

Meanwhile, lawyers at the forum said those enrolled in DACA who have no criminal record should reapply for the program, immigration attorney Edyta Christina Grzybowska-Grant said when asked about the legal status of Dreamers.

“If you are willing to risk losing the $495 filing fee, I’d say go ahead and do so … you just might buy yourself another two years,” Grzybowska-Grant said. “If you never had DACA, then it’s probably not a very good idea to apply because you’ll be disclosing a lot of personal information to the government.”

One woman asked about what protections exist for her daughter, who has been recently bullied by classmates, who called her by a racial slur and an “illegal,” and told her that her family would be deported, “once the wall was built.”

Attorney Rodriguez called the situation an “unfortunate” example of the impact of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, but that it’s not legal in California. Laws protect kids from being psychologically, verbally and physically bullied, Rodriguez said.

Parents should be filing complaints and documenting those complaints, Rodriguez said.

Most importantly, the theme of the night was for undocumented immigrants to keep their mouths shut if confronted by police.

“If an ICE officer asks you one of two types of questions — where are you from or how long have you been here —don’t answer the questions,” immigration attorney Win Eaton said. “If you answer the question. you’ll shift the legal presumption to you. Now it’s no longer the government’s job to prove that you’re not here legally, it’s your job.”

(8) comments

Jpb1055
Jpb1055

It's time that those who came to this country illegally were held accountable. If you disrespect our laws, there should be consequences for those actions. The same for those who overstayed their Visas. Our politicians failed to do anything for decades about our immigration problems. Now we finally have someone who is willing to make the hard choices. My wife had to deal with Hispanic "Kindergarten students" that would not stand and recite the pledge of allegiance because their parents told them not to. There is no allegiance or respect for this country of those who choose to break our immigration laws. And yet now they think their rights as illegal immigrants are being trampled. Give me a break!

Brian
Brian

I agree with you jtorczon all the layers who I'd be put under license review. But they are looking for big paychecks latter. I really hope enjoy reading articles that use obamas term undocumented to try and soften the fact they are breaking the law. And the writer speaks of his executive action to get reelected over mitt Romney as it was a law. Plain and simple the new administration is enforcing the laws congress has put on the books. Obama and the California politicians hate the idea because welfare and the illegals keep them in power. Half of California including myself an independent voted for it. It's ridiculous the politicians cater to the law breaking illegals who are slapping in the face the law abiding immigrants. Shameful

jtorczon
jtorczon

Interesting that these lawyers are practically aiding and abetting illegal behavior. So it is refreshing that, with a new sheriff in town, the government is reprioritizing the rights of illegal aliens over those of American citizens in conformity sith Trump's pledge to restore law and order in this countries. However, as long as they have not committed other crimes, the students have nothing to worry about. Before anyone brands me as a racist or xenophobe, know this: my wife legally immigrated here from a third-world country and, now that she is an American citizen, has petitioned for a green card for her sister and her family. The funny thing is that she takes a much tougher stance and view toward the illegals than I do I can't blame her, not when they are cutting the line in front of her sister, who is now in her 12th year of waiting for that green card.

Inconvenient Truth
Inconvenient Truth

Title 8, U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it a federal felony, punishable by up to 5 years in a federal penitentiary, for any person who -- knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.

amtfor attorneys
amtfor attorneys

From Russia in 1952 I was so scared to be deported that it took me years to go to school learn the ways of America then I went for my citizenship and now I don't worry so all you people who are here without that get moving on getting it youv been here for years now your crying . But I will say a middle eastern in front of me that day didn't want to give then his green card up for the citizenship that day they pulled him out of line they should of kicked his butt out . his behavior was alarming mexicans work middle easterns bomb us thats the difference .

GaryJohns
GaryJohns

They should have started by rounding up the room of spectators....

jtorczon
jtorczon

Yeah, and put them to work in building the wall along the border now that this country has been fundamentally transformed from a nation of laws to one governed by sentimentalism and political correctness.

Tiredofbleedinghearts
Tiredofbleedinghearts

You are so right, also we need to stop all the money that is being sent out of our country and take that as the tax money they should be paying and build the wall with that.

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