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Coachella, CA

Immigrant Community Afraid To Travel For The Holidays

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Coachella, CA -

The holidays are a time of time honored traditions. But community activists for undocumented immigrants say many are so concerned about visiting their families for the holidays, that this year, they are spending Christmas without them.

"In our home towns we gather with all the families, the grandma's the grandpa's, everybody comes together and cooks and celebrates," said Luz Gallegos, program director for Training Occupational Development Educating Communities, or TODEC, a free legal center for undocumented immigrants.

Related: TODEC Launches Aggressive Campaign, Calls On Immigrants To Naturalize

For many, this year things are different. Strong talk on immigration from Washington is making some think twice about getting on a plane or even crossing state lines to see their families for the holidays.

"The fear is that they wont come back. they leave the country and they're afraid that they wont come back or they will have their residency revoked for any unnecessary reason," said TODEC representative Manuel Vazquez. 

TODEC is hosting workshops to educate those who are thinking about traveling, offering advice on what to do if they run into any problems.

"Right now what we're doing is a lot of community education, making sure that they understand that if they can't understand and read a form, that they have the right to ask for the form in Spanish and to never sign something they don't know," said Gallegos.

For some the fear is too much. Enough to make them spend the holidays without their loved ones.

Related: TODEC Expands Reach In Coachella Valley

"Currently in a lot of Latino communities, that this year they've decided we're not going to go to Mexico or any other country, El Salvador, Guatemala, just to play it safe. In other words they don't want to risk not coming back," said Vazquez.

"We keep on hearing from our families that they are just going to stay home, that this Christmas is not going to be the same," said Gallegos.

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