Community fears deportation in midst of pandemic, official says

Hispanic Center remains a resource to help during pandemic

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Services in Jonesboro continue to work around restrictions due to COVID-19, with the Hispanic Center saying they’re doing everything they can to serve the community.

The non-profit center translates information over the phone and uses Zoom and FaceTime to also communicate.

Executive Director Gina Gomez says they do this to ensure the Hispanic community is not left behind.

The center closed its doors to the public five weeks ago but did not stop working.

“We have to be really creative because some of our people don’t have internet access, they don’t have computers,” she says. “Cellphones have become really handy for us at this time.”

Gomez says the Hispanic community is fearful to come forward to receive medical help for COVID-19 symptoms because they’re afraid to be deported.

“We want to make sure they are getting the services that they need. We want to prevent them from passing COVID-19 to other people,” she says.

She says if you come forward, you will not be deported at this time.

“That’s why it’s vital for us to be here, continue offering the services, to continue educating our people and also continue trying to meet the needs that have increased a lot in the last six to eight weeks in our community,” she says.

This fearfulness also applies to fill out the 2020 Census information, according to Gomez.

Her office works to call all people who used the Hispanic Center’s services in the past, to urge them to fill out the information.

“Many times, when you move to a new country, you don’t really understand how the system works. It’s important for them to understand that the impact of completing the Census is for them and for their children to have better schools, better access to good hospitals, to have better roads,” she says.

The Hispanic Center also works to help people with education, translations, and interpretations.

To seek help, call the center at (870) 931-1884 or click here.

Copyright 2020 KAIT. All rights reserved.