City to host event to help immigrants better understand their rights

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lawrence Public Library, pictured Aug. 20, 2015.

Those with questions about immigration law will soon have a chance to find some answers.

This week, the City of Lawrence Human Relations Commission will host a discussion called “Know Your Rights: An Informative Evening about Immigration Law.” The event will take place Thursday and will include a discussion with a local immigration attorney and information about organizations that can assist immigrants, according to a city news release.

Scott Wagner, management analyst for the city attorney’s office, said the Human Relations Commission decided at its last quarterly meeting to form a subcommittee on immigration to plan the event.

“An ongoing goal of the commission is to reach out to immigrants and make sure they have an understanding of the law and of our human rights protections in Lawrence,” Wagner said.

The city’s Human Relations Commission investigates discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing. The nine-member commission handles discrimination complaints and also studies discrimination-related problems and other matters that have an adverse impact on community relations, according to the city’s website.

As part of the event, immigration attorney David Treviño will discuss the basics of immigration law. Commission member Katie Barnett said that discussion topics would include how immigration law is applied locally and common issues that local families may encounter, such as issues related to traveling, getting a passport and unlawful detention or arrest.

Barnett said the event is open to everyone, including those who may know someone who is an immigrant and want to bring information back to them.

“We want people to know there are people right here in Lawrence and in Douglas County who can be a resource,” Barnett said.

Other community organizations will be present to answer questions and provide information about immigration rights and resources in Lawrence, according to the release. Wagner said that the Lawrence chapter of the NAACP, The Willow Domestic Violence Center, the University of Kansas Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Human Relations Commission will all have information booths set up as part of the event.

The event is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.

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