Over the weekend, Fort Wayne’s Multicultural Council sponsored an Immigration Resource Fair in collaboration with local community organizations.
The resource fair took place at the offices of El Mexicano Newspaper. Those who came were able to get information on health care, voter registration, city services and free legal immigration advice.
Organizers were hesitant to have the resource fair after rumors spread last week that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, was in the Fort Wayne area looking for people living in country illegally. After deliberation, organizers and sponsors decided to hold the event.
Fernando Zapari is the editor and publisher of El Mexicano Newspaper he explained why the event was organized.
“The resource fair was created to provide the people living in Northeast Indiana with free services like attorneys, legal assistance and it was all pro bono. Fort Wayne is a good place to get all the organizations like the police, METRO and non-profits involved,” said Zapari.
Fort Wayne resident Candy Lucero Palma was happy the event took place.
“My mom and I had questions that we wanted to ask. And we just came in and thankfully we were able to get questions answered and a lot of information on what out is there in the community,” said Palma.
Dennis Sword is a civil rights investigator for Fort Wayne’s Metropolitan Human Relations Commission. He was at the resource fair and said by the time people find out about METRO’s resources its often too late. He also emphasis everyone living in Fort Wayne has civil rights.
“As far as that, METRO, we don’t care if you are documented or undocumented. Regardless of your status you have civil rights. If their housing provider is treating them differently, if their employer is treating them differently they have a right to file. They don’t have to disclose to us if they have status or not. It won’t make a difference in our process,” said Sword.
The event was sponsored by Fort Wayne Multicultural Council and El Mexicano Newspaper. Organizations in attendance included: Catholic Charities, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, The Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, Citilink, League of Women Voters, Brightpoint, Anthem, Fort Wayne Police Department and the Office of Rep. Jim Banks, (R-3rd).