Protecting immigrants from discrimination and attaining a comprehensive immigration reform has been a long-standing battle. Arturo E. Ocampo, the NOCCCD District Director for diversity and compliance, had the Fullerton College campus host an Immigration Rights and Advocacy lecture Friday, Feb.22.

“The one thing we did different this year is that we invited the outside community, not just students, which is important,” said Ocampo.

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From left to right , organizer Arturo Ocampo, speaker Shakeel Syed, and Ranmalee Perera of NOCCCD Diversity & Inclusion Faculty. Photo credit: Leticia Perez

The panel of speakers consisted of Directing Attorney Immigration Unit at Public Law Center, Monica Glicken, the Executive Director of OCCCORD, Shakeel Syed, and associate professor at CSUF Julian Jefferies, PhD.

The room was filled wall-to-wall with people of all ages and cultural backgrounds as each speaker had a 20 minute presentation and an additional 10 minutes for a Q&A.

Assemblywoman representing District 65, Sharon Quirk-Silva attended the event and briefly went over some of the bills passed in regards to immigration and acknowledged that ‘there has always been issues with it.’

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Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva representing district 65, goes over immigration bills passed. Photo credit: Leticia Perez

Monica Glicken’s agenda focused on explaining immigration laws and policy updates.

“If they are knocking on the door asking for permission to come in and speak to someone that means that they do not have a warrant signed by a judge, because if they did they wouldn’t need your permission to go into your home,” said attorney Glicken.

There has been situations where I.C.E. shows up at people’s homes and workplace with the intention of detaining and deporting the undocumented. The ‘handling of’ illegal immigrants has caused a wedge between Republicans and Democrats in the senate, leading to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The controversial issues surfacing around the immigration policies has led members of society to take a stand and organize several immigration movements.

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OC organizer, Janeth Bucio, talking to an attendee. Photo credit: Leticia Perez

Janeth Bucio, is the Orange County Regional Organizer at CHIRLA– a nonprofit that strives for ‘progressive social change’ and advocates for immigration rights. CHIRLA helps transform individuals into leaders and helped pass the Assembly Bill 540, a law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rather than out-of state.

On the other hand, for the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program, the Trump administration does not allow new applicants, only those that had it before can renew their application every two years.

Meanwhile, POTUS Trump has made ‘the wall’ into a renowned symbol for his presidency, but former President Barack Obama deported more immigrants than any other U.S. president in history.

Speaker Jefferies, immigrated from Argentina to pursue higher education and was undocumented for 14 years. “ The real PhD was being undocumented” he said. Today he travels to Puerto Rico with documented and undocumented students, which he is proud of.

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PhD. Julian Jefferies, talks about his journey as an immigrant. Photo credit: Leticia Perez

Shakeel Syed reviewed a series of statistics indicating that Orange County has 31.5% of it’s population foreign-born and 80.7% of that population has lived in the U.S. for a decade or longer, according to the OC Immigration Report.

The event concluded with several of the audience members staying behind and approaching the guest speakers, organizers, and the table booths that held more information about programs and scholarships available for undocumented people.

“It’s imperative to stand up for everyone marginalized,” said Leonor Cadena, professor of anthropology at Fullerton College.

The next event is the ‘Mental Health Panel’ and it will be held on March 22nd at Cypress College from 8:30-11:30am. Presenter Ada Robinson-Perez, licensed social worker, will be flying in from New York and share her research interests on racial microaggressions.

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