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Sacramento DA Helps Refugees Understand Legal Rights

There's a new push to educate immigrants in the Sacramento area about their legal rights.

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office says its new Understanding Your Rights program was sparked by an influx of refugee resettlement groups moving into apartment complexes in the Arden-Arcade area last year.

"There was a concern that these folks may not have a voice, that they may be placed in substandard housing," said Natalia Luna, an assistant chief deputy district attorney.

She says a lot of immigrants from places like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Russia are reluctant to speak with law enforcement. And not just about inadequate housing, but also about crime — if they witness it or are a victim.

"They may be afraid because they come with a different background," Luna said. "They have a different history."

She continued: "If they are a victim of a crime or a witness of a crime, we want to ensure them that they are able to come to law enforcement, that they can come to the district attorney's office, and make certain that they are heard. And that if they're a victim, and there is a case, that we will prosecute."

The danger, she says, is that if criminal activity is unreported, it will grow.

The DA's Office is working with the police and sheriff's departments, county code enforcement and city attorney's office. The program will be offered at Highlands Community Charter School campuses throughout Sacramento.

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