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L.A. area workshops to focus on immigrant rights and emergency preparedness for immigrant families

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In the light of recent changes on national immigration policies which have raised fears and anxieties among families and communities of various backgrounds, a series of workshops will be taking place in the Greater Los Angeles area this week focusing on rights of immigrants.

On Tuesday, March 21, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will team with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University Law School, Bet Tzedek and the National Immigration Law Center to present a “Know Your Rights” workshop at Dolores Mission Parish in Los Angeles. A team of experts will be on hand providing information on immigrant rights and on President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. They will also be offering information on emergency preparedness for families and communities who may be affected by the immigration policies.

This event takes place at 6 p.m. at 171 South Gless Street in Los Angeles.

This event is part of a larger, nation-wide Cities’ Day of Immigration Action designed to bring tools and resources to immigrant communities.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will also be sponsoring Regional/Deanery/Parish Workshops to train parish teams to work with their community members go through these immigration issues. The Archdiocese recognizes that we that “the Catholic Church in this country has always been an immigrant Church,” in the words of Archbishop José H. Gomez at a recent talk at the Napa Institute’s D.C. Symposium.

“We can never abandon our family. That is why the Church has always been at the center of our debates about immigration. And we always will be. We cannot leave our family alone, without a voice,” said Archbishop Gomez.

Many of these immigrants in the Archdiocese, they have little substantial support outside of their family and parish communities. These training workshops, offered through the Archdiocese’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace (OLJP), are designed “to encourage parishes to develop Parish Teams made up of parish leaders and other interested parishioners who are well-informed on how to prepare people in their parish for immigration enforcement by knowing their rights and working with families to have family preparation plans” according to an OLJP press release.

The workshops’ have a broad focus with the OLJP highlighting that the Church’s “concerns are for immigrants from ALL over the world which affects nearly every parish in our region,” not just those from Mexico or Central America.

A workshop will take place in the San Gabriel Pastoral Region of the archdiocese on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at St. Frances of Rome parish located at 501 E. Foothill Boulevard in Azusa.

Another workshop will take place in the San Pedro Pastoral Region on Saturday, March 25 at 9:30 a.m. at St. John of God parish located at 13819 Pioneer Blvd in Norwalk, California.

The Workshops will offer beginning orientation and training for parish teams and the OLJP strongly encourages sending “ministers from your parish who show a special interest in caring for those community members who are confused, afraid and/or misinformed on immigration and enforcement issues.” They also are encouraging pastors, clergy and administrators to attend.

The workshops will be presented bilingually in English and Spanish.

“My friends, there is an important role here for you and for me — for all of us who believe in God. Because we are the ones who know that God does not judge us according to our political positions,” stated Archbisop Gomez. “Jesus said, “I was a stranger,” an immigrant. He did not distinguish between legal and illegal. We need to help our neighbors to see that people do not cease to be human, they do not cease to be our brothers and sisters — just because they have an irregular immigration status.”

“There's a balance of law and love we can strike here. The immigrants that I know are people who have faith in God, who love their families, and who aren't afraid of hard work and sacrifice,” the Archbishop stated. “These are the kind of people we should want to be new Americans. These are the people we shoud want to join us — in the work of rebuilding this great country,” he said.

Those interested in attending the workshops in the San Gabriel region should RSVP to (626) 960-9344. For the San Pedro region workshop, RSVP to (562) 634-0456. RSVP’s can also be placed with the OLJP at (213) 637-7560.

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