Dear friends,

 

On March 10, the Rapid Response Network hotline became operational in the New York-New Jersey region. Immigrants faced with ICE raids now have a 24/7 toll free number that they can call in an emergency, and get a Spanish-speaking volunteer who will be able to calmly tell them their rights and how they can avoid detention.Such Rapid Response hotlines, now being set up in other cites, have helped immigrants to fight back against the raids and break the terror that ICE is imposing on the immigrant community.

 

The Rapid Response Network has already had its first successful response to a raid. A woman called the hotline from her home in Elizabeth, saying that ICE agents were outside, demanding to be let in. The RRN phone volunteer reassured the woman that she had a right not to let the ICE agents in without a search warrant. Although the agents were waving various papers around through the window, they did not show any such warrant.. After some 20 minutes, the ICE agents gave up. No was detained and the Hotline worked as intended.

 

But we need YOUR help to make the hotline work and be more effective. You can help in three ways:

 

1) If you are fluent in Spanish, we need more phone volunteers to cut down on the shifts. Volunteers will receive training.During an 8-hour per week shift, calls to the hotline will be directed to your cell-phone and you will be able to help immigrants involved in raids to avoid detention and deportation. Volunteers are confidential and status does not matter.

 

2) We need a lot of help in getting the word out to the Spanish-speaking immigrant community. We have eye-catching posters in Spanish and English which we need to get to organizations and individuals that can put them up in immigrant neighborhoods. We need help in printing lots of the posters.

 

3) You can join Rapid Response Teams who, when called by hotline volunteers, rapidly go as teams to the site of an ICE raid and act as witnesses. RRT witnesses will also receive training. As experience in LA and other cities has shown, the presence of such witnesses can deter ICE agents from rights violations (like breaking down immigrantsí doors). Rapid Response Team members do not need Spanish, but since they will be dealing with ICE agents, they must be citizens, permanent residents or on a valid visa. Observing and commenting on the actions of ICE agents or any other law-enforcement authorities is lawful activity protected by the Bill of Rights and by Supreme Court decisions.

 

To volunteer, please contact us at info@njmay1.org

 

Eric Lerner

NJ May 1 Coalition