This Formerly Undocumented Woman Is Teaching Her Fellow Immigrants to Know Their Rights
After her husband was jailed for entering the United States without papers, Gabriela Casteñeda vowed to help her peers live without fear.
Photos by Gabbi Campos
On a Wednesday morning in February, 25 undocumented immigrants sat in a crowded Sunday school classroom at the Holy Spirit Catholic church in Horizon City, a neighborhood on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas. At the front of the class, Gabriela Castañeda, a human rights promoter and communications director from the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), pointed to a chalkboard, where the words “Trump,” “Round up Illegals,” and “usted tiene derecho a permanecer en silencio” were written on the blackboard.
“You have the right to remain silent,” said Castañeda, her words mixing with the sounds of hymns sung by the church’s choir practicing a room over. “If Immigration and Customs Enforcement comes to your door without a warrant, you do not have let them in. If you don’t know what to do, call this number.” She handed out cards listing BNHR’s number and the words “THIS PERSON KNOWS HIS/HER RIGHTS” written in bold across the top.
Castañeda, a formerly undocumented women f…
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