Know your rights: Mexican consulate in SF sends message to immigrants (press release)

In a press release the consulate advises migrants as to their rights, and resources available.

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, 3/15/17 — In the wake of past several weeks, the Trump Administration’s generally hard-line stance towards immigration, and reports of ICE raids (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco has issued a press release, describing the rights and resources available to immigrants in California, as well as services offered.

Perhaps most importantly the consulate lays out the rights that immigrants have if they are approached by immigration authorities or detained, and provides some suggestions of what to do in those situations:

Also, you should know that regardless of your immigration status, you have rights:

  • You do not have to open the door of your home if you are not presented with an arrest or search warrant.
  • You do not have to disclose information about your immigration status and you can ask to leave if you are not arrested.
  • If you are arrested you have the right to ask for a hearing before a judge and to contact a lawyer. Take into account that in immigration procedures, you or your family should seek a lawyer. The court does not assign one.
  • You should not sign any documents you do not understand.
  • You can leave your children with a trustworthy adult under power of attorney signed by an American notary.
  • You may request that the Consulate be notified of your arrest.
  • Remember to note which authorities are conducting the arrest, the names of the agents, and any other information that may be useful later.

Remember, also, that with these rights, there are also obligations. It is very important that you, as always and with much more care, follow the law and exhibit exemplary behavior. This is the first act of self-protection.

The release goes on to detail several steps the the consulate and embassy have taken in recent weeks including, creating a hotline where Mexican citizens may call for legal and migratory advice, as well as counseling.

Mexican consulate advice icon

The note also lays out precautions to take, such as always having a well organized place with the family’s important documents, such as birth certificates, passports, and other important ID. And gives recommendations concerning what to do if you are deported, but your children are American citizens. In this case the embassy recommends having the children’s American birth certificates registered at the consulate, though this can also happen in Mexico.

The consulate will coming to nearby cities over the coming months in a “mobile consulate” visiting Santa Rosa on April 1, Cloverdale on June 3, Crescent City on June 10, Petaluma August 5, Fort Bragg Aug. 25, Eureka Sept. 9, and Santa Rosa again Nov. 18. The full schedule can be seen here.

Here is the press release in full:

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. “

Kofi Annan, Former Secretary of the UN

Information in Times of Change

By Wilma Gandoy

Lgandoy@sre.gob.mx

Several leaders around the world  recognize that information is power. When you are well informed, you can evaluate the options you have to make the best decision possible, whatever the situation may be.. Following the electoral victory of Mr. Donald Trump, there have been mixed doubts about what will happen particularly in immigration matters. As a result, a series of rumors have surfaced that keep the migrant community in the United States in fear. However, in the face of inevitable change, it is best to consult reliable sources of information that allow you to make informed decisions and optimize your choices.

For Mexicans based in the United States, a reliable source of information is the 50 consulates of Mexico.  For northwest California and Hawaii, in particular, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco is available. In the field of immigration specifically, the area of ​​Consular Protection and Legal Affairs, through the Center of Legal Advice, offers advice and provides answers to specific questions about immigration and the options you have to better safeguard your interests.

As many of our compatriots know, this service is offered not only at our offices located at 532 Folsom St, in the City of San Francisco, but also at our Mobile Consulates, through which our services are provided to Mexicans who live in cities far from San Francisco. (The link will provide you with information where the next Mobile Consulate will be: https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/sanfrancisco/index.php/banner2016/56-consulted-moviles-2016) .

In addition, we are attending consultations, participating in Parents’ Meetings and various forums to clarify doubts and to inform the migrant community about the services offered by your Consulate. In addition to the face-to-face service, the Mexican Government has established a toll-free hotline that provides legal guidance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this phone you can not only explain your situation and receive reliable information about your best options, but also, if required, you can have psychological assistance in cases of emotional crisis.

Likewise, in order to be better prepared and channel their doubts, staff from the Consulate are meeting with authorities at a local and federal level in order to offer our countrymen updated and factual information about what will be implemented in immigration matters. In turn, we are strengthening relationship with different organizations that like us, have an interest in orienting, representing and protecting the rights of immigrants.

As a result of these efforts, our Mexican Embassy in Washington has established a close relationship with Pro Bono Net and Immigration Network Advocates, who have developed a new tool called Immi. This tool will allow those who use it to understand, with their particular history, what their immigration options are, if any, to find legal aid at acceptable prices and to get up-to-date information on migration issues (https://www.immi.org/) .

On the political front, the Consulate is carrying out an intense effort to sensitize the authorities of the importance of maintaining closeness to the community they serve, which has proven to be the only way to achieve safer cities for all. Also, we are meeting with community organizations to identify irregular situations or specific cases that need support.

In addition to pointing out the various means available through which reliable information can be obtained and guidance to enable you to know what your options are, it is important to know what you can do in the event of an imminent emergency. It is very important that you have your family’s documentation, birth certificates, family passports and other documents of nationality and identity that may be useful in a special place in your home.

In case the family’s plan is to return to Mexico, it is recommended that your American children have their Mexican birth record from the Consulate. If for some reason you cannot register at the Consulate, you can do it in Mexico with a certified American Birth Certificate (certified by the State of the child’s birth). Remember that the fact that your children are American will not mean that you will lose them. Your children will always be your children.

Also, you should know that regardless of your immigration status, you have rights:

  • You do not have to open the door of your home if you are not presented with an arrest or search warrant.
  • You do not have to disclose information about your immigration status and you can ask to leave if you are not arrested.
  • If you are arrested you have the right to ask for a hearing before a judge and to contact a lawyer. Take into account that in immigration procedures, you or your family should seek a lawyer. The court does not assign one.
  • You should not sign any documents you do not understand.
  • You can leave your children with a trustworthy adult under power of attorney signed by an American notary.
  • You may request that the Consulate be notified of your arrest.
  • Remember to note which authorities are conducting the arrest, the names of the agents, and any other information that may be useful later.

Remember, also, that with these rights, there are also obligations. It is very important that you, as always and with much more care, follow the law and exhibit exemplary behavior. This is the first act of self-protection.

As Kofi Annan said, information is liberating and an informed community is a powerful community. Mexicans in the United States are not alone. Today more than ever, your Consulate is close to you to guide and protect you.

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