President Obama’s labor-secretary nominee Tom Perez has a long association with CASA of Maryland, a group that serves immigrants and runs day-laborer centers. Perez was on CASA’s board from 1995 to 2002, and while it doesn’t appear he’s had any official ties since then, as a Montgomery County Council member Perez promoted a day-laborer site that was ultimately run by CASA.
An example of CASA’s attention to illegal immigrants can be found in a booklet that was updated in 2008. The booklet, which can be viewed on CASA’s website here, includes an instruction guide for those who want to “learn how to protect you and your family during immigration raids.”
The guide also has advice for those who are “undocumented,” including the following recommended responses: “Do not answer any question or say only, ‘I need to speak to my lawyer.’”; “If you have a valid immigration status document, show it” and “Always carry it with you.”
“Do not say anything about where you were born or how you entered the United States,” and “Do not carry papers from another country,” are other examples. “If you do, the government can use this information in a deportation proceeding,” the booklet warns.
But the booklet doesn’t stop there. These are the tips for those who are stopped in public areas: “If the police or an immigration officer stops you on the street and does not have a warrant, s/he may not arrest you unless s/he has evidence you are a non-citizen,” the guide instructs. “Remember you have the right to remain silent and to refuse a search. Do not say anything about your immigration status or where you were born. Also, do not carry with you any documents from your country of origin or false documents. If you have valid immigration status documents, show them.”
And on workplace raids, the CASA guide suggests this: “Talk with your co-workers to see if they are willing to make a collective decision that everyone — regardless of their immigration status — will remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney in the event of a workplace raid.”
While CASA never explicitly states its views on current immigration laws in the booklet, these two illustrations make it fairly clear what the organization thinks of law enforcement:
CASA of Maryland made the booklet with the help of Detention Watch Network and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild.