COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — An immigrant rights group held “bystander” training sessions Sunday for people who may be in the country illegally, and are at risk of getting arrested and deported.
This session comes days after confusion spread in Howard County that ICE was carrying out raids.
Officials said that was not true.
However, the group, CASA, has been busy in the last few weeks with the sessions to educate undocumented immigrants on what to do if ICE agents arrest them.
But Sunday, those sessions shifted to train people who may want to help the undocumented immigrants.
“The whole immigration system is broken,” said Elizabeth Alex from CASA.
The group said bystanders could help ensure that the rights of undocumented immigrants are not being violated.
“We know that frequently immigration enforcement happens very quickly and so once that clock starts ticking, faster we can help that person access an immigration attorney, the much better chances they have to be able to stay and fight their case,” Alex said.
Last Sunday, President Trump tweeted that ICE will start “big deportations” in two weeks.
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And then days later, panic swept through a Columbia neighborhood after rumors spread that ICE was carrying out raids Wednesday morning.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said he is opposed to giving ICE any help to arrest undocumented people. But he also cleared up rumors.
He said there were no raids.
“We don’t support people being targeted based on the immigration status, and so when we heard that it was focused on criminal activity, we understood; however, Howard County wasn’t asked to participate and we didn’t participate,” Ball said.
During Sunday’s training, CASA had one main takeaway for all participants.
“Keeping your eyes open and contacting us when something happens,” Alex said.
CASA hosted the event with several other organizations.