Concerns and questions about immigration brought people to The Pointe on Saturday, where they met with attorneys at a free legal clinic.
The Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition and Cal State Long Beach’s Future Underrepresented Educated Leaders hosted the clinic, welcoming upward of 50 attendees into the venue where they could have any questions relating to immigration answered by volunteer attorneys.
The clinic had been planned for four weeks, but recent events, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids across California that saw over 150 people arrested and President Donald Trump’s executive order calling for the construction of a wall along the Mexico-United States border, have led to many concerns about security from deportation.
“It’s a large range of immigration questions,” said LBIRC Development Assistant Maribel Cruz.
Petitioning for a family member’s citizenship, obtaining Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and what to do when faced with a deportation order are among the concerns that Cruz said people, both citizens and not, have reached out to the LBIRC for help with.
Upon arrival to the Pointe, attendees filled out forms with information about their reason for seeking consultation before being paired with one of the 11 attorneys present.
Cruz stated that gaining 11 attorneys was remarkable for an event hosted in Long Beach, as they have only had about eight attorneys present in the past, and similar events in larger areas like Los Angeles are likely to recruit about 20 attorneys.
“Given the time, they’re really eager to help,” Cruz said. “Their willingness to come on and support has been amazing.”
When called from the waiting room, people were seated in front of an attorney at a table, where they would confidentially discuss their concerns and get the help they needed.
FUEL President and junior political science CSULB student Luis Flores said that someone who arrived to video record the event had to be turned away, because the organizers did not want to risk identifying anyone who may be undocumented.
In the waiting room, families were given a presentation about constitutional rights that both citizens and noncitizens have, specifically in the event that an ICE officer were to arrive to their home in search of anyone.
The waiting room presentation from FUEL instructed people to tell ICE agents at their door that they do not wish to speak with them, hand them any documents or sign anything, as per their 5th Amendment rights. Attendees were told to declare to ICE agents that they are not permitted to enter their home or search their belongings, unless the agent had a warrant signed by a judge or magistrate that they should slide under the door.
“This information is crucial, specifically in this political climate,” Flores said.
Flores credited support they received from the Division of Student Affairs and the Dream Success Center with helping FUEL reserve the venue.
“It’s a community effort,” Flores said.
Though most of the people that attended the clinic were Latinx, Cruz hopes to expand the service to be able to help immigrants of all nationalities.
Flores stated that he hopes to host another free immigration legal clinic in mid-March.