Nuevo Progreso, November 29 - An attorney and bail bonds company owner in Edinburg has started a national organization to provide free legal advice to Mexican nationals living in the United States.
Fred Regalado has helped immigrants in South Texas over the years through his 4 Aces Bail Bonds firm and his legal practice. Now, he is taking it to another level.
Regalado has joined forces with the Asociación Nacional Pro Defensa de los Derechos Humanos in México and will serve as presidente de Derechos Humanos en Estados Unidas de Norteamérica.
“We have set up a free hotline number, 877-666-0909, where Mexican nationals in the U.S. can get free legal advice, whether it is immigration, workforce discrimination, detention, divorce, the whole gamut,” Regalado said.
“What we have found, over the years, is that many people do not know their rights, their human rights. We say ‘no’ to illegal detention of the undocumented, ‘no’ to discrimination, ‘no’ to abuse, ‘no’ to physical or psychological torture. In the United States you are innocent until proven guilty.”
Regalado said he is already advertising the free hotline number in Spanish language newspapers in Houston. He plans to expand this to other major cities in the coming weeks. Asked how he can provide legal services for free, Regalado said: “We will be paying for it through other funds, through donations.”
Regalado attended the opening of the Nuevo Progreso office of the Asociación Nacional Pro Defensa de los Derechos Humanos on Tuesday. It is the 20th office the non-profit group has set up in Mexico. The office will be run by Dinora Del Carmen Ceivera López, an attorney based in Nuevo Progreso.
Fortino López Balcazar is president of the Asociación Nacional Pro Defensa de los Derechos Humanos in Reynosa. López Balcazar signed the document appointing Regalado president of the U.S. chapter. “Our organization exists to protect human rights and to monitor the implementation of the laws of Mexico. We are particularly concerned about the human rights of children. We want to instill in our young people the values of friendship, tolerance, brotherhood, coexistence, and respect for the law. This is critical for us as the basis for the development of children and youth people,” López Balcazar said.
David Díaz Castañeda is a director for the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, a federal agency. Díaz Castañeda flew in from Mexico City to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of ANDH’s Nuevo Progreso office.
“We try to help support the activity of the social human rights organizations, such as ANDH. It is one of our goals as a national organization. We have to help the citizens because in many small cities, people do not know where to go for help or even what human rights means. In cities with more schools and colleges, there is generally more knowledge of human rights.”
Asked for a comment about the setting up of a U.S. office to help Mexican nationals with their human rights, Díaz Castañeda said: “We are pleased to work with Fred. We are pleased he is doing this important work.”
Regalado said that in his experience there is not enough vigilance when it comes to human rights. “There are too many violations, too much discrimination. This is why this work is so important. We want to spread the word that free legal help is at hand.”