Professionals Deliver Practical Guidance during Houston Panel Discussion on Immigration

May 15 14:00 2019
Professionals Deliver Practical Guidance during Houston Panel Discussion on Immigration
The Universal Church organized the “Know Your Rights” panel discussion, held in Houston, Texas, on April 2, 2019. This event included information offered by legal, political and law enforcement experts and aims to aid immigrants and their families living in Texas.

There are few current issues in the U.S. that are more discussed, debated and decried than immigration. Given the number of moving parts when it comes to federal immigration policy and its very real ramifications, The Universal Church brought its “Know Your Rights” panel discussion to Houston, Texas. This April 2, 2019 event follows similar discussions held in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and beyond.

According to recent information provided by The Universal Church, which champions spiritual guidance and restoration regardless of nationality, more than 600 people attended the Houston panel discussion. Among topics discussed at the event were advising immigrants how to protect themselves and their families, current enforcement policy carried out by federal-level units and non-border related stops.  These topics drove at the heart of current immigration issues: Helping entire families.

“Panelists offered practical guidance for circumstances commonly faced by immigrants, including how every family must prepare to face the challenges if a family member is detained,” according to The Universal Church. “The panel also discussed how to exercise legal and constitutional rights in encounters with police and immigration officials.”

“Practical guidance” came from relevant professionals at the Houston panel:

  • Political attendees: Claudia Ortega-Hogue, who is district director for Texas Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. Also, Terence O’Neill from Houston’s Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities.
  • Law enforcement officials: Officer Rafael Pantoja, who handles public affairs for the Houston Police Department.
  • Legal experts: Laura Neish from the Tendy Law Office in New York; Rosemary Vega, who is supervising attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic of the University of Houston Law Center; Lauren Fisher Flores, who is staff attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center; and Raed Gonzalez, who is senior attorney with Gonzalez Olivieri LLC.

One of the key issues that were discussed at the April 2019 panel discussion was how families should be prepared for immigration-related challenges. Being educated and knowing what the laws on the books are could prove to be valuable. For example, SB4 – which permits non-federal law enforcement in Texas to work with immigration officials – was a noteworthy topic. This is because immigration status can’t be called to question on its own; rather, a police investigation stemming from other circumstances can then lead to these questions.

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