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(Chicago, IL) -- With the news that raids and arrests are more aggressively being pursued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, many within our Filipino community feel unsafe, and fearful for their lives.
In response to this, AFIRE staff and community members gathered at the Rizal Center on February 25, to discuss strategies for increasing awareness about the new law protecting domestic workers in Illinois, and to talk about preparedness practices in the event that a community member is approached by ICE.
The Know Your Rights presentation and dialogue covered a variety of scenarios, topics and questions about immigration procedure, and served as an informative setting where community members could comfortably express their thoughts about the current political climate.
Those who attended the dialogue included Filipina domestic workers, undocumented workers, seniors, and faith leaders of the community. Facilitating the topics and discussions were AFIRE community core members, some undocumented workers themselves, who were able to take on leadership roles towards empowering and educating the Filipino community throughout this current administration.
Eliseo Barja, a facilitator and AFIRE core member, shares his thoughts following the meeting. “Providing this information as a resource increases our confidence responding in an emergency. Helping each other will be the most effective action...and coming together to collectively decide on an action plan allows us to not only learn from each other, but also serves to uplift our voices as a strong, united force. We will not be helpless.”
Through Know Your Rights education, AFIRE community members hope to send the message that we are stronger together when we are made aware of our rights. AFIRE maintains a commitment to fight alongside all immigrant workers to combat unjust violations to basic human rights, regardless of immigration status. AFIRE offers a variety of resources, programs and services, free and accessible to the Filipino community, and urges Filipinos to reach out for support by calling us at 773-580-1025 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.