It has been five days since mother of four Nury Chavarria decided to defy a deportation order by seeking sanctuary in a New Haven church.
“I made this decision because I want to stay near to my family, to be together,” she told NBC Connecticut Saturday night.
For immigrant families in the Elm City fearing separation, they now have a new guide for “what to do when deportation threatens.”
“This handbook is complete with practical, legal and emergency tips and referrals for recent arrivals,” Mayor Toni Harp said at a press conference unveiling the “Family Immigration Emergency Preparedness Guide.”
One page describes how to recognize different law enforcement agents and another section remind people they have the right to remain silent when speaking with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“These family preparedness suggestions are meant to keep families calm in the face of such uncertainty,” Harp said.
The handbook encourages families to select a “standby guardian” for their children.
“Somebody they have a connection, somebody with whom they feel safe,” Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Joette Katz said.
President Donald Trump has said the focus should be deporting the bad guys: immigrants with criminal records.
DCF is caring for 4,300 children, Katz said, adding that number could grow greatly under the Trump Administration’s immigration policies.
“Imagine 22,000 children are at risk if in fact their parents are deported for no reason other than their status,” Katz said.
With her city in the national spotlight because of Nury’s story, Harp had a message for immigrant families.
“In this city, we will work to make new residents feel welcome, safe and secure no matter where they used to live,” Harp said.
The emergency preparedness guides will be available for pick up at New Haven schools, libraries and New Haven City Hall. The plan is to translate it in Spanish and also make it available online.