New Hotline to Assist Immigrant Families

New Hotline to Assist Immigrant Families

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John Daley ReportingA new hotline is being set up to help families who have been broken up as a result of federal immigration raids and deportations.

The goal? To help those left behind in Utah, often mothers and children, get services so they can stay afloat.

Recent federal immigration raids on the Wasatch Front shipped hundreds of undocumented workers to Mexico. But left behind were hundreds of others, like Mauritizia, an unemployed mother and her 4 kids, including a 12-year-old son.

"I want my dad back. I want him here. They treated him bad you know already, I think."

The raids exposed some major problems with the system because all of those left behind now need services. Some deportees owned homes, many of the kids left behind were born in the U.S. and are, therefore, U.S. citizens.

In response to the raids was some community activism, and today the announcement that a coalition of community groups and state agencies were teaming up to set up a hotline for families in crisis as a result of the deportations.

James Yapias, Raz-Pac: "This is one way that we're trying to help the families in a pro-active way."

Robert Haywood, Utah Dept. of Human Services: "I don't think this is a political issue as much as it is an a-political issue. An issue where we need to protect the kids and the moms and so forth, where we needed to set up immediate response teams."

In the Capital Rotunda, where today's press conference took place, a mural depicts Father Escalante discovering Utah Lake. It’s an interesting reminder that this region has long been an Anglo/Latino crossroads, and still is today.

Luz Robles, Raz-Pac: "Children, what if they were born here? They are citizens just like any other U.S. born kid. They have the same rights as any other person in this country and they should be getting those services."

The state of Utah is looking to hire roughly three-dozen licensed social workers who are also bi-lingual to help the families get the services they need.

That toll-free hotline number is 1-877-CRISIS-2. The hotline is not operated by the Federal Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, formerly known as the INS. And, it will be staffed by volunteers.

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