By Cass Rains

Staff Writer

Enid community leaders and Hispanic pastors met Monday night to discuss fears among Enid’s Hispanic community and address helping those in the country without documentation obtain it.

“There were a lot of fears last week in the Hispanic community,” said Davis Park Christian Church pastor Alan Siebel.

Siebel said an action committee needs to be formed to address issues of obtaining documentation, create ways to educate and quell unneeded fears in the community.

“We have a need and a love for Hispanic people, despite how they got here,” Siebel said.

Members of Hispanic ministries said most of the people involved in their churches do not address issues of legal status and most hold a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The group discussed the effects of rumors in the Hispanic community — such as those last week that included word of raids, road blocks and deportation — that prevented some Hispanics from attending church.

“Right now, it’s (communication) pretty much just through word of mouth,” said pastor Jacob DeSouza, of Davis Park Christian Church’s Amigo Ministries.

Enid Police Department Capt. Dean Grassino told the group the department does not actively seek out people who are in the country illegally. He explained if someone is stopped by police and subsequently arrested, Im-migration and Customs En-forcement will be contacted by jail personnel to help identify them.

Grassino also explained the differences between law enforcement agencies in Garfield County.

Allan McCobb, United Way executive director and member of Hispanic Council, said many don’t understand the levels of immigration documentation and also pushed for education.

Siebel suggested the action committee needed to “help people have the knowledge, re-sources and how-to to become legal.”

“Nobody wants to live looking over their shoulders,” Siebel said.

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