The Diocese of Des Moines

Know Your Rights Workshops — 

“Know Your Rights” workshops provide information

to Hispanic community

Bishop has pledged support to Hispanic community

Following reports of discriminatory words and actions against those in the local Hispanic community and in light of a changing national approach to immigration, the Diocese of Des Moines has launched a series of “Know Your Rights” workshops for the Hispanic community, which has experienced mounting fear and anxiety.

The workshops, held in Spanish, are led by local immigration attorneys from the organization called Justice for Our Neighbors. They share information for students, educators, social service providers and the general public. One workshop was held Jan. 29 at St. Bernard in Osceola and four more are scheduled:

Feb. 12, 2:15 p.m., Sacred Heart Church, West Des Moines
Feb. 26, 2 p.m., Our Lady of the Americas Church, Des Moines
March 5, 4:30 p.m., Christ the King Church, Des Moines
March 5, 3:15 p.m., Corpus Christi Church, Council Bluffs.

The diocese estimates there are 30,000 Hispanic Catholics in central and southwest Iowa.

Bishop Richard Pates shared on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, 2016, that several discriminatory incidents against Hispanics had occurred after the presidential election and contributed to a growing fear within the local community.

In a Jan. 26 statement, Bishop Pates offered diocesan support to the Hispanic community after President Trump signed an executive order called “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.”

“I am very disheartened by the action of President Trump in prioritizing building a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border,” he said. “As the shepherd of all of our people of Catholic faith, I assure those under present threat that they will not be abandoned by me or the Diocese of Des Moines. They can be assured of my loyalty and support.”

“We can offer our support by offering education and opportunities for our Hispanic brothers and sisters to learn about their rights,” said Mayra Moriel de Bañuelos, diocesan coordinator of Hispanic Ministry.

Resources at the workshop include a Q&A from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, known as MALDEF, a national nonprofit civil rights organization that protects the rights of Latinos in the United States. Information is also made available for those who are affected by the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (known as DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (known as DAPA).