Hundreds Gather For Answers At OKC Immigration Forum

Saturday, February 18th 2017, 7:22 pm
By: Grant Hermes

An attentive crowd listened, asked questions and collectively worried about what will happen to their place as immigrants in Oklahoma City.

“I think the biggest fear is if I get detained and taken by immigration, what will happen to my children? My U.S. citizen children, what will happen to them?" event organizer Daisy Escalera said, parroting the questions she’s asked most often.

The crowd gathered Saturday for a forum in the U.S. Grant High School auditorium. The forum was done nearly entirely in Spanish and was put on by a new local group, the Mexican Cultural and Humanitarian Association.

The group brought together lawyers, law enforcement and even members from the Mexican consulate to give advice and warning to immigrants in the crowd.

“It's a country of opportunity you know and if you have some dreams and you can be involved in that and you can have the process to get there,” said Mexican-American artist Carlos Tello. 

Tello became a citizen 20 years ago but said he still felt the need to be a part of Saturday’s forum.

The forum came days after a nationwide enforcement surge by immigration and customs agents, and just days after reports from the Associated Press that President Donald Trump may enlist the National Guard to begin rounding up undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security called the reports incorrect.

Those same reports, however, are stoking fears among the students Jessica Mascote sees every day at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“I know it's a little bit difficult right now to ease their concerns,” the UCO community outreach worker said. “But anyway that I can receive information or provide them with resources I just make sure I let them know.”

The day ended with applause and a promise of hope for those who say they see dark days ahead.