Hispanic Advisory Committee - Minutes

Mon., Apr. 17, 2017

Chairman Jose Garcia called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm. Committee members present were Mark Gomolski, Hector Ramirez, Jesus Rome, and Roy Nayar Barron. Council Representatives Manuel Gutierrez (arrived at 7:11pm) and Clara Beas-Fitzgerald were present, as well as City Representatives Mark Morgan, Chief Edmiston, and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. The Pledge of Allegiance was given.


Mark Gomolski moved and Hector seconded to approve the minutes of the March meeting. Motion carried unanimously.

Cinco de Mayo Señoritas

Cinco de Mayo President Clara Beas-Fitzgerald introduced the three winners of the Cinco de Mayo Señorita Contest: in first place, Natali Armenta; in second place, Daisy Cardenas; and in third place, Jaleslie Torres.

All three winners expressed their gratitude towards all who voted for them, and their excitement to be part of the Cinco de Mayo Señoritas.

Catholic Charities- Immigration Presentation

Emily and Karen from Catholic Charities presented immigration information stating they wanted to address recent rumors regarding President Trump, misinformation that has been circulating, changes that have been made, other expected changes, and reviewing different types of legal status, which are:

Legal Permanent Resident, which can never be taken away; U-Visa, which are very difficult to be taken away; and DACA, which can be taken away at any time. Currently, President Trump has stated he will revoking DACA and implementing a new program similar to DACA, but has not done so yet.

(Councilor Manuel Gutierrez arrived at 7:11pm)

Under President Trump, there has been more of a focus from ICE enforcement for undocumented criminals than before. And, although, the focus is on undocumented criminals, undocumented bystanders can also be affected. So, it is important to understand, that people you associate with, or that live with you, can greatly negatively affect you and your family.

Emily and Karen gave information regarding:

  • Knowing your immigration rights.
  • ICE enforcement must have a warrant or have permission from the residents of that home to enter.
  • Getting in the habit of asking who is at the door before opening it.
  • Having the right to remain silent and stating you will be silent until you have an attorney.
  • Knowing you do not have to answer questions regarding your immigration status.
  • But, if you are here legally, you should always carry your ID showing immigration proof.
  • You do not have to give your name to any officer, but the officer can keep you until identity can be established.
  • Passport and Matrícula Consular Cards are proof that you do not have legal status.
  • Knowing you can call the police if you are concerned about who is at the door.
  • If there is someone in the home that ICE is looking for, by that person not leaving the home, it can affect the rest of the persons in the home.
  • Do not speak about your immigration status to anyone.
  • Do not lie about your immigration status, as this can be worse.
  • Speak with an immigration attorney if you have an immigration deportation notice.
  • Although, law enforcement may not communicate with ICE regarding legal status, ICE can still check jail rosters and individuals can be detained from that information.
  • Please avoid ALL criminal charges, specifically DUI’s.

Emily and Karen stated if parents are concerned about deportation, the family should create an Emergency Plan so that others can temporarily take care of their children. Oregon Law Center can help facilitate short-term custody arrangement. The forms are simple and do not need to be filled out by an attorney or signed by a notary.

And, although there are a lot of people who want to help undocumented immigrants, there are also a lot of people who like to take advantage of undocumented immigrants as well. Please make sure the attorney is an immigration attorney and their bar number can be verified. Also, remember, notary’s are not attorneys. Catholic Charities also provides many free or low cost services depending on each case. The closest Catholic Charities office is in Portland, but phone consultations are available.

Please remember there are always a lot of rumors about what is happening regarding immigration. Please do not get news or information from fb/social media. You can always call Catholic Charities to get up to date information about changes to the law.

Sheriff Rowan- Law Enforcement Immigration Presentation

Sheriff Rowan stated a safe community is his top priority. In 1987, a federal law came into effect that prohibits law enforcement from helping ICE in any immigration investigation. Therefore, you will not see police officers going door to door with ICE agents helping in immigration investigations. Law enforcement will only help ICE when undocumented immigrants have committed crimes. And being an illegal resident/undocumented immigrant is not considered a crime.

Officers and the County Jail will not hold a person past their release date and time without a judicial warrant as this is a 4th amendment right violation. 8 out of 10 times Ice does not take action when the County Jail has contacted ICE regarding detainees. ICE has come to Umatilla County Jail twice since 2014 to deport detainees; once for a very heinous rape and sex abuse case; and the second, for a very large marijuana grow operation.  Sheriff Rowan stated those are the type of people we don’t want here. As a sheriff, I have to balance the law with public safety. Sometimes the law allows us to communicate with ICE, but that does not mean law enforcement has to follow their lead.

Sheriff Rowan gave information regarding:

  • The Constitution states you have the right to be secure in your home; with that being said, ICE cannot enter your home just because you answer the door.
  • Law enforcement can detain an individual(s) if that person does not have proof of identity until law enforcement can identify that person(s) or until they have confidence that the information that they are providing is legitimate/has been verified.
  • The Matrícula Consular Cards are acceptable forms of ID.
  • ICE does not have to contact local law enforcement when they are in the area.
  • Typically ICE agents wear jackets that say “ICE”, they also have a badge that identifies them and a gun. Sheriff Rowan has never seen ICE agents “undercover” or in regular clothes.

Sheriff Rowan stated law enforcement is about protecting people. And will leave his business cards in the back if anyone would like to contact him with questions.

Chief Edmiston echoed Sheriff Rowan’s comments and stated safety is also his top priority, opening a door is not legal consent to enter, local law enforcement are not required to enforce federal laws, law enforcement wants and needs people to cooperate with law enforcement to help keep people safe, and arrests are public information that msut to be shared not to be mean, but because it’s considered public record.

Mark Gomolski and the Committee thanked Catholic Charities, Sheriff Rowan and Chief Edmiston for attending and presenting information and stated it’s important for people to hear the truth about these issues instead of hearing rumors on social media, etc.

Closing Comments

City Representative

Assistant City Manager Morgan stated there will be a Special City Council Meeting, tomorrow at 6:30pm, to determine if the Parks and Recreation Department will manage the Hermiston Conference Center going forward in 2018.

There is also a Festival Street Design Committee Meeting tomorrow at 4:30pm as well.

The Harkenrider Center groundbreaking will be on Wednesday, April 26th at 12:30pm behind the Library.

Please Keep reminding people about the FREE bus system.

Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald stated the Cinco de Mayo celebration will be a 2-day event, May 6th and 7th, at Butte Park. There will be a parade, music, dancing, a car giveaway, food, and so much more for the entire family to enjoy. Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald encouraged everyone to attend.

Committee Comments

Hector stated three churches participated in a downtown clean-up event that cleaned areas in downtown, around the railroad, washed cars, and helped with the Recycling Day Event that the Parks and Recreation Department headed. Hector encouraged everyone to help keep it our community clean by volunteering, because Hermiston is Where life is sweet.

Next Scheduled Meeting

The next scheduled meeting will be Monday, May 15th at 7:00 pm.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:35 pm.

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