Group Learns Skills to Deal with Future Immigration Raids - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; |

Group Learns Skills to Deal with Future Immigration Raids

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Julie Hong

Omaha (KPTM) - Federal agents are stepping up immigration enforcement efforts across the country.

It mean more large scale immigration raids.

One group is working to step up its efforts to help communities like ours get ready for the consequences of these raids.

A 2006 immigration raid.

Six meatpacking plants targeted including Grand Island's Swift plant.

More than 12-hundred people were detained.

More than two years ago one outraged family member waited for word from her husband as she stood outside the Grand Island plant.

"What about the kids, when they come home from school what are you gonna tell them. Immigration took them?"

In the aftermath of that raid hundreds of families were ripped apart, left without legal guidance and communities struggling to offer help.

It was following a series of large scale raids last year that prompted a national effort by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Incorporated or CLINIC to offer a preparedness plan.

"There was mass chaos, people were scrambling and really wanted to know what to do and how to prepare a response to this," says Tanisha Bowens, the CLINIC Raid, Ready and Preparedness Coordinator.

A two day conference at UNO is aimed at training city leaders, social services and legal advocates to handle the fallout of these raids.

"We wanted to put together the best tools together and push communities to form coalitions and regionally organize to respond effectively to these actions," says Bowens.

Experts say it's not a matter of if, but when another raid happens.

And if it happened here tomorrow, organizations that work with immigrants say it would be difficult.

"That would be very challenging for all of our agencies to handle as it would be challenging for the court system and challenging for the government to process all those people," says Rob Dorton, Program Manager with Lutheran Immigration Services.

It's a challenge area organizations now plan to be prepared for.

CLINIC is also working with community leaders in several other states including Kansas and Colorado.

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