Activist Groups Offer Training Sessions to Teach Immigrants Their Rights

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Responding to what they characterized as a coordinated series of raids targeting people living in the country illegally, members of an activist group today began offering hourly training sessions to teach immigrants about their legal rights.

The “Know Your Rights'' training sessions are being offered every hour by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. The group is also offering immigrants access to attorneys, and has set up an informational toll- free hotline at (888) 624-4752 for people to call for assistance.

On Thursday night, dozens of activists staged a protest in downtown Los Angeles in response to what they described as a series of raids at various Southern California locations, including Van Nuys and Downey. CHIRLA officials contended as many as 100 immigrants were detained by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said she had no information about a coordinated series of raids, saying the agency's officers “conduct enforcement actions every day around the country and here in Southern California as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to uphold public safety and border security."

“Our operations are targeted and lead-driven, prioritizing individuals who pose a risk to our communities," Haley said. “To that end, ICE's routine immigration enforcement actions are ongoing."

Activists and some elected officials, however, expressed fear that the recent actions represented a stepped-up enforcement effort by immigration authorities.

“This is un-American,'' Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said. “It's not who we are.''

Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, demanded that ICE officials provide “more information and the purpose of these raids.''

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