Apoyo recruits volunteers to go door-to-door in communities with a large population of undocumented residents. In these communities, volunteers teach the residents everything from identifying ICE agents to knowing their rights when speaking to an agent.
The group is currently working with the undocumented community in Nature Trail, which is the largest mobile home park in Chapel Hill. Moving forward, they hope to branch out of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
“The ultimate goal we have is to be able to hold each other accountable and trust each other in our own neighborhoods,” said Cervantes. “We want to be able to communicate with each other about not only suspicious activity in the neighborhood but also opportunities for growth.”
Damon Seils, a member of Carrboro’s Board of Aldermen, said the city supports its undocumented residents. Though they have not worked with Apoyo, the town has provided resources to El Centro Hispano, which shares similar goals and methods as Apoyo.
“We began working with them to connect them to information from the police department in Carrboro so that they could locate relatives of the people who had been abducted,” Seils said.
The city has worked to connect legal assistance to the people who were detained and to help locate their family members, he said.
Though Seils says there is not much the city can do besides providing information to these groups, the city has also successfully organized community events for undocumented workers.
“One of the things we did immediately with El Centro after the ICE action is we helped them put on a Know Your Rights event here in Carrboro,” Seils said. “We also had members of local law enforcement there so that they could see what our local law enforcement uniforms look like and how to differentiate their uniforms from whatever ICE agents may be wearing.”
Seils also stated that the local police departments, including Chapel Hill and Orange County Sheriff's Departments, do not participate in ICE activity.
Cervantes described a time when Quiroz and some other volunteers were reported to the police. When the officers arrived and heard about Apoyo’s mission, he said they expressed their full support for Quiroz and the residents.
"In general, Carrboro does have a large immigrant community, and I think we just know from anecdotal evidence that many of those people are probably undocumented,” Seils said. “As far as we're concerned, as a town, everyone is welcome here."