ATLANTA -- U.S. Immigration and Customs officers have rounded up hundreds of undocumented immigrants in the last few weeks. In the wake of those operations, there have been lots of rumors going around stoking fears in immigrant communities here in metro Atlanta.
The Latin American Association says it's been getting calls, nonstop, especially in the last two weeks: parents afraid to send their children school, adults missing work for fear they'd be randomly swept up in immigration raids.
Many of those calling are misinformed, which is why the association hosted an immigration forum Saturday hoping to quell some of those fears.
A group of experts including immigration attorneys discussed several topics including: recent immigration orders, immigrants' rights and how to respond if an undocumented immigrant encounters ICE officials.
While much remains uncertain, at least today, the association hopes this forum empowers those in attendance.
"I just think it's very important that people come to these things as much as possible so they are informed of their rights, informed of what they can do, informed of what documents they should always carry with them," said Lino Rodrigues, an immigration attorney. "Knowledge is power and in this situation, it absolutely is for them."
Local police officers were also invited to the forum. They were there to help the immigrant community understand their job is not to deport them. And that they need them as partners in solving crime in the community.
This is the second forum the association has held in two days. The director says there might be more depending on what happens next. These forums were happening even under the Obama administration.