A 24-hour hotline and rapid response network launched Thursday in Sonoma County to help defend undocumented immigrants from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions, organizers said.

The hotline can be reached at (707) 800-4544. It will give undocumented immigrants access to a wealth of resources organized by a network of community groups in Sonoma and Napa counties, the North Bay Rapid Response Network.

“Our goal when we interact with callers is to be sure they know their rights,” said Omar Medina, a spokesman for the network.

The hotline has bilingual dispatchers who will answer the phone and send trained legal observers to document ICE raids, Medina said. The legal observers will track, verify and document ICE raids in the workplace, homes, neighborhoods and checkpoints.

“The observers will be watching what is happening, taking video and writing stuff down to have a legal case,” Medina said.

“If anyone is detained, they (observers) will be getting the necessary details so we can get them with a lawyer, and the lawyer will know what location they are taken to,” he said.

Also, the Rapid Response Network will provide accompaniment teams to give families support, accompanying them to court and helping them deal with the system, according to Medina.

Everyone involved in the effort is helping out on a volunteer basis, he said.

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The service will be extended to Napa County in a couple of months, he said. Training is still going on there, according to Medina.

“We were going to launch Oct. 12, but that was the week of the fire so we delayed our launch,” he noted.

The North Bay Rapid Response Network—Sonoma & Napa Counties is a network of various community groups and organizations in Napa and Sonoma counties working to create a way for people to cope with the increase in immigration enforcement, ICE raids and other actions.

“We want to make sure we are prepared and ready to defend our community and let people know there is a community behind them to keep families together,” Medina said.

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