The City of El Monte and its partners hosted an informational forum on immigration and resource fair for community members at the Nativity Catholic Church April 27.
After a similar event called “Know Your Rights” seminar at the Grace T. Black auditorium in El Monte that was hosted by Congresswoman Grace Napolitano was interrupted by a Donald Trump supporter April 14, the city decided to hold another forum.
The forum, which was advertised with posters around the city, was calmer this time around with police officers surrounding the church in case of another situation.
While many were reluctant to come at the start because of the Trump Supporter incident, it took a while for the three hour forum to begin with it being pushed back to 6:30 p.m instead of 6 p.m.
Directed towards residents who are impacted by the changes in immigration laws, the forum featured community leaders, elected officials, and immigrant advocates that provided information on the status of undocumented immigrants.
After the dignitaries and guest speakers were introduced, the general discussion was held inside the church until 7 p.m as the rest of the other eight informational workshops began.
The workshops took place in buildings surrounding the church and included topics such as Detention/Deportation Defense, Temporary Protected Status, U.S Naturalization and Citizenship, and Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals.
One El Monte woman named Ariana Briones who attended the event, thought it was “very informative” and addressed the concerns her family had as well, feeling comfortable and relaxed. Briones mentioned she would come back if there were anymore events and recommended those that need help to come and learn more.
El Monte Mayor, Andre Quintero, thought the general reception to the event was positive from the residents and was satisfied with the turnout saying that he “hopes the word gets out about the success of the event so that more people will have confidence to come and get the information they need.”
As the general discussion was held in Spanish, Mayor Quintero said that that was not done purposely, saying he thought that they were going to do it in English and then have translation, but saw who was there and who they were serving that it just turned out that way.
As there is a disconnect with the current administration of the U.S and the rhetoric that they have chosen to communicate with “has made things very difficult and made people very anxious,” said Mayor Quintero.
“We want people to have confidence in their government, we want people to have confidence in police in particular so that if they’re a victim of a crime that they report it, that they’re not afraid to speak up because they’re afraid that they’ll be deported.”
As Mayor Quintero takes pride in the success of the event, he said there is not a plan yet to make another one saying that hopefully “we’ll be able to have it soon.”