HOLA Prepares Communities for ICE Sweeps, Releases Emotional Video…


“There’s no question that the threats are taking their toll-- families and children across the country are terrified” said HOLA Executive Director Veronica Dahlberg.

HOLA Ohio is preparing for worst case scenarios after President Trump tweeted last week about mass Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids across the country. President Trump later announced a two-week delay in the raids -- "Unless we do something pretty miraculous," the president said the raids would happen "sometime after July Fourth,” asserting, “We will be removing large numbers of people.”

“There’s no question that the threats are taking their toll-- families and children across the country are terrified” said HOLA Executive Director Veronica Dahlberg. “Here in Ohio, families are still dealing with the trauma and fallout from two immigration raids last summer that targeted farmworker families and immigrant workers. Families don’t want to be seen, so they are trying to keep their children indoors and not draw attention to themselves.”

Working to be a greater support to immigrant families, last weekend HOLA Ohio implemented a new text alert system to launch texts in Spanish to roughly 150 clients, who share the information within their circles. The messages include information about the services HOLA Ohio provides, immigration policy updates, and information about legal rights.

HOLA Ohio is no stranger to dealing with the aftermath of ICE raids. In June of 2018, two of the largest immigration raids in recent history dealt a crushing blow to vulnerable farmworker communities in Norwalk and Salem, Ohio, affecting more than 400 children. Ohio has the third highest rate of ICE arrests in the country. HOLA is the main organization on the ground identifying those affected and supporting them through the raids. Recently, HOLA has been receiving requests from people across the US, asking for assistance for their loved ones – many of whom are asylum seekers from Central America being transported to Ohio's immigrant detention centers from the southern border.

HOLA Ohio works diligently to help children and families by:

  •     Implementing the HOLA Bond Fund, which has so far provided $71,500 in bond assistance to individuals in detention, reuniting 57 US Citizen children with their parents. One of the most successful and comprehensive bond assistance programs in the region, it includes free, wrap-around support from HOLA caseworkers and volunteers, and free transportation to court hearings, immigration check-ins and other appointments.
  •     Providing a legal defense fund to ensure access to affordable legal representation
  •     Reuniting asylum seekers with family across the US, by providing legal, medical, financial and transportation assistance.
  •     Partnering with local health providers to provide free, mobile medical and dental clinics to address increasing health concerns related to the stress and trauma caused by immigration enforcement.
  •     Providing assistance to over 500 individuals, helping place dozens of immigrants on the path to legal status.

Primarily funded by individual donations, HOLA Ohio harnesses the support of a vast network of supporters across the US to implement its programming. In an effort to continue to its groundbreaking work reuniting families and children and supporting asylum seekers, HOLA created the HOLA is HOPE promotional video. The piece details the effects ICE raids are having on children and how HOLA is helping to reunite families.

HOLA Ohio is a 501(c)3 organization based in Painesville, Ohio, with a mission to empower the Latino community by creating opportunities through education, outreach, leadership development and economic advancement. Formed in 1999 to serve farm workers and their families, HOLA Ohio has become a pillar of the Ohio Latino and immigrant community and works with families across Ohio. To learn more about HOLA, visit http://www.holatoday.org, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HOLAOhio

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