Politics

Immigrant Rights Hotline Reports Hundreds Of Calls Over Past Month

The Houston-based hotline began operations in February, shortly after President Trump issued his first executive order on immigration policy.

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Edgar Salvidar
Edgar Saldivar of ACLU of Texas, answering calls on the first day of the Texas Immigrant Rights Hotline

A new Houston-based hotline providing legal advice for immigrants is reporting a surge of interest, following President Donald Trump's recent executive orders and public statements on immigration. The Texas Immigrant Rights Hotline has fielded more than 500 calls since it began operations on February 22.

A collection of Houston-based non-profits organized the hotline, with the assistance of law firm Vinson & Elkins. Most of the calls to the line originate within the Houston area, though some come from as far away as Florida and Los Angeles.

"The majority of the calls that we're getting are from folks who do not have permanent legal status, who are undocumented, who are concerned about how to ensure that their family doesn't get torn apart," says Kate Vickery is executive director of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative. "And a lot of families who are mixed status, perhaps undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children, those families have a lot of concerns right now about how to ensure that their children will be protected and not end up in CPS custody should their parents be deported."

But Vickery says the hotline is also getting calls from legal residents and even naturalized citizens, who are concerned about what changes in immigration law enforcement under the Trump administration mean for them.

The line is staffed by volunteer attorneys, accredited representatives of the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals, and law students. All callers are referred to an immigration attorney, either through the American Immigration Lawyers Association or through a non-profit immigration legal services provider.

To reach the Texas Immigrant Rights Hotline, call 1-888-507-2970. Attorneys seeking to volunteer for the hotline can do so via the Houston Volunteer Lawyers website.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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