Forum on immigrant rights held at UC Davis School of Law

TAYLOR RUNNELLS / AGGIE

Senator Bill Dodd holds latest in a number of forums aimed at addressing recent immigration concerns

California state Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry hosted an installment of the Know Your Rights Forum on April 17 that addressed recent concerns regarding immigration policy. The event, which was held at King Hall, was the latest in a number of forums held by Dodd.

“I’m hosting these forums around the district because I’ve heard, really, from hundreds and hundreds of people that are concerned — scared people as I indicated earlier over the last couple of months,” Dodd said. “People are worried about federal immigration policies under this new administration.”

Davis Mayor Robb Davis, who sat on a panel of five speakers during the event, opened the forum with a speech.

“I want to thank Senator Dodd and assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, who could not be here tonight, for providing the opportunity for us to think about immigration,” Davis said. “It’s timely, and I think as we consider the many students and community members who we love and value, with whom we work everyday, whose hard labor brings us many of the things that we value and appreciate about our region, as we think about those things we realize we have to talk about this now and we have to talk about what it means for people to exercise their rights.”

In addition to Dodd, the panel also featured Yolo County sheriff Ed Prieto, Dean of the UC Davis School of Law, Kevin Johnson and professor and co-director of the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic Amagda Perez.

After introductory remarks from each of the panelists, the floor opened up for questions. Questions covered topics such as search warrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, sanctuary cities and President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration.

Prieto, who is now serving his fifth term as Yolo County sheriff, said that his department would uphold the rights of every resident in the county.

“I think it’s very important to know that most of us in law enforcement do believe in the constitution, at least I certainly do,” Prieto said. “And everybody who works for me, whether they believe in it or not, they’re going to uphold it when it comes to those who are undocumented. So when you say the process, the process is the same for anyone who comes into our facility.”

One of the frequent topics that came up during the forum was the issue of access to accurate information regarding immigrant rights. Davis, who discouraged reliance on rumors, made note of the different resources available in Yolo County.

“I think the City of Davis and I’m pretty sure the City of Woodland or the school districts in those cities have been really good about getting the word out to populations especially in schools where there is a large concentration of children of unauthorized immigrants,” Davis said. “I think the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network and specific congregations that have large immigrant populations are probably one of the best ways to get accurate information out so, that’s what was sponsored a few weeks ago, and I think we just need to continue to use those venues. Schools and churches in particular I think are two of the best that we have, and we have very strong networks within them.”

Dodd has said that he plans to keep hosting these forums throughout the district to continue to answer questions about immigration laws. Residents with questions are encouraged to reach out to his office.

“It’s really important that we’ve come this far; we’re in this building, I would hate to have you leave here now and not have a question answered that’s important to you,” Dodd said.
Written by Ivan Valenzuela — campus@theaggie.org