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Immigrants Rights Advocates Launch San Diego Rapid Response Network

This photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows foreign...

Photo by Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Above: This photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows foreign nationals being arrested this week during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Feb. 7, 2017.

Immigrants in San Diego now have a 24-hour hotline where they can get legal advice and report Border Patrol checkpoints, immigration raids and arrests.

The hotline is part of the newly-launched San Diego Rapid Response Network, a coalition modeled after others in the state that aims to prepare for and respond to what organizers describe as inhumane immigration enforcement activities.

“Some people don’t want to go out the door to go to the store because they fear they may not come back home,” said Katie Ortiz, a faith leader with the San Diego Organizing Project. “So we want to reduce that (fear) and let them know we’re here for them. They’re not alone.”

The project comes two months after the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he planned to step up workplace enforcement.

“They’re not going to hold back and we want to be ready for that,” Ortiz said.

More than 200 volunteers from faith organizations and nonprofits, including the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, will be involved in the network, operating the hotline and organizing events to connect immigrants with legal services and information. For now, the help will come in English and Spanish, but the network hopes to expand to include other languages.

Volunteers will gather at St. Jude's Shrine of the West church Tuesday night to kick off the project by pledging to protect immigrant families. People will share stories in English and Spanish and prepare to knock on doors in the region to inform families of resources available from the rapid response network, according to the group.

The network is a coalition of nonprofits that will pool resources to respond to actions such as immigration checkpoints, raids and arrests.

Other members of the coalition include the San Diego Organizing Project, the Employee Rights Center and the Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

There are several organizations that use the rapid response model in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Rapid Response Network, and elsewhere in Southern California, such as the Los Angeles County Rapid Response Network.

The San Diego network's hotline can be reached at (619) 536-0823.

Advocates, faith leaders, attorneys and immigrant families will gather Tuesday night for the launch of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, a coalition modeled after others in the state that aims to prepare for and respond to what organizers describe as inhumane immigration enforcement activities.

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