The Hammond Teacher’s Federation and Hammond school district hosted the first of a series of events intended to help Latino Hoosiers understand immigration policy.
Community leaders from northwest Indiana helped lead the conference that drew more than 400 attendees.
Democratic State Senator Frank Mrvan says workshops at the event are the first step to understanding immigration’s big picture.
“I honestly think immigration is one of the big, major traumatic issues in the state of Indiana and the nation,” Mrvan said. “We have so called 11 million that may be affected. And they may be hurt, families may be hurt and shipping them away is not the answer.”
Workshops included sessions on how teachers can support students whose parents have been deported or arrested, the basics of applying for citizenship, and what a person should do when approached by a police officer if they’re in the country illegally.
United States Hispanic Leadership Institute President Juan Andrade, Jr. says open dialogue is essential to immigration issues.
“People need to understand the power that we have and how we can use it so that our country can grow closer together and not grow farther apart.”
Leaders will host another immigration workshop in October. The event will make immigration lawyers available for free consultations.