Immigration resource meeting held in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Members of the Hispanic community attended the Know Your Rights community meeting with the Chattanooga Police Department Thursday evening.

The meeting at East Side Elementary School was part of an ongoing collaboration between Hamilton County Department of Education, LaPaz, Chattanooga Police Department and UnidosContigo.

Analizbeth Juarez attended the Know Your Rights community meeting, where she got to ask Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher a question.

“It was good to know that because we think the police is with the immigration and they want to do the same thing as taking us. But we realized they are really not trying to do that. They are coming to help us,” Juarez said.

Juarez is originally from Mexico. She moved to the United States with her family when she was one.
She has a permit where she can work and go to school, but she says this meeting cleared up a lot of confusion.

“I believe it was very helpful because for me and my parents we were scared. We were worried about all of this rumors. Letting them tell us about it, it kind of helps me because I feel relieved and I don’t feel as scared as I was,” Juarez said.

Officers answered questions and even interacted with kids. Chief Fletcher says relationship building is important.

“We have learned in law enforcement, I have learned particularly in my three different decades in which I have been a police officer, that when each member of your community feels comfortable working with your police department, then every member of your community is going to be safer,” Chief Fletcher said.

LaPaz helped put on the event.

“Honestly, the last couple of weeks have been a little crazy at LaPaz and one of those reasons is because of false information. people getting information that we don’t even know where it is coming from, so we want to make sure that the information that is passed to the Hispanic Latino community, and really Chattanooga is coming from a valid source,” said Stacy Johnson, CEO/Executive Director of LaPaz Chattanooga.

Chief Fletcher says Chattanooga police will never ask a person’s immigration status.

“Our vision is to be trusted and respected by all segments of Chattanooga’s diverse community that includes all aspects of the community regardless of their immigration status,” he said.

After attending the meeting, Juarez says she feels relieved.

“It made me less afraid. it cleared everything I heard,” she said.

For more information about LaPaz and upcoming events, click here.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News