Within hours of President Donald Trump's election back in November, Attorney Justin Estep and his colleagues were flooded with emails and messages.
"Everywhere across Austin, the different service providers' inboxes were filled with emails and contacts from clients and families of clients concerned about what will happen to them and their relatives," he said.
Estep serves as the Director of Immigration Legal Services at Catholic Charities of Central Texas. More recently, though, he's joined hundreds of other attorney's in the area to create "Texas Here to Stay", a coalition of attorneys, non-profit and legal workers determined to provide legal advice and counsel to all.
"The campaign had so much discussion about immigration and the intentions of the different candidates that we had at least a general idea of what to expect," Estep said. "We decided to assume the worst and then work back from there and that way we would be able to hit the ground running and not give anyone a false sense of hope."
Attorney Robert Painter, the Interim Executive Director of American Gateways is also a member of "Texas Here to Stay." He said that a large part of their goal is education.
"The U.S Constitution gives equal protection under the law to all persons living in the United States regardless of their immigration status," Painter said. "Beyond that, the Supreme Court has determined that certain 5th and 4th amendment rights apply to all people in the United States regardless of whether they are citizens or not... we like people to understand all of that in the event that they find themselves targeted by immigrant enforcement action."
Painter and Estep both said that the education begins with teaching basic rights first.
"First thing they should know is that they have a right to counsel and that they should try to talk with an an attorney at least for consultation before they speak with an ICE agent," Painter said.
"Finally, have the number of a family member and preferably an attorney and the only thing you need to be saying is I need to speak with my attorney," Estep said.
Both attorneys agreed that memorizing the number of a family member and ideally an attorney would be beneficial to anyone in this situation, and above all, they said to stay as calm as possible.
"We don't encourage our clients or anyone who is concerned about these measures to be fearful," Estep said. "That's not going to help their situation at all. What we ask is for them to be vigilant."