ICE raids spark fear for undocumented workers

Randy Sanchez and Yuritzhy Torres

As a sanctuary state California is at odds with the federal government’s efforts to deport undocumented workers. In California there have been rallies to protest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest of residents like the one in San Francisco this past February that blocked access to ICE’s office in the city.

Non-naturalized immigrants are being deported and separated from their families as part of the Justice Department’s efforts to enforce U.S. laws regarding immigration. Fear has arisen in local communities about these raids among Spanish speaking citizens and immigrants.

”I feel threatened on many levels; sometimes I don’t feel safe when I walk out into the street especially living here in Marin. I feel judged by different people, and I feel that sometimes people don’t feel safe around me just because of the color of my skin. I know that, this president, his actions, and his words justifies others to be thinking the same things. It’s just really setting us back, and it’s really discouraging as a citizen.” Spanish teacher Jose Anchordoqui said.

According to Fox News online, in California on March 1 ICE raids sent back 232 people.

“To be anti-immigrant is to be anti-American, if you think about it.” said Sarah Emory, Legal Outreach Coordinator of Immigration Legal Services of the Canal Alliance.

The Canal Alliance supports new arrivals in their efforts to achieve their dream. They provide immigrants with education, various social services including immigration legal services.

“There isn’t a huge difference between citizens and immigrants except for their papers [and] their passports.” Emory said.

The Immigration Legal Resource Center in San Francisco provides “Red Cards” that help people know their constitutional rights regardless of immigration status and defend themselves in situations where they may feel threatened by officials to be deported, according to their website.

“The anti-immigrant rhetoric is a lot of scare tactics and is exaggerated. It doesn’t reflect how difficult it is to be an immigrant in this country and to get any sort of document status. It also doesn’t reflect the huge benefit these communities provide for this nation, as they have since the beginning.” Emory said.

In March Public Radio International’s program The World reported that state Controller Betty Yee explained that undocumented immigrants’ labor is worth more than $180 billion a year to California’s economy — about equal to the 2015 gross domestic product for the entire state of Oklahoma.”

This fact is ignored by advocates of strict enforcement of immigration laws such as President Trump who claims that undocumented immigrants take jobs and drain the economy.

“Economically citizens are benefited by immigrant communities. They have helped our economy boom.” Emory said.

America is a nation of immigrants and reform of immigration laws is a difficult and complex issue. The diversity of this country is one of its strengths.

“Diversity is kind of essential to life, in my opinion, so citizen who doesn’t get to experience diversity or who are anti diversity actually detract from their own livelihood and their own experience in life.” Emory said.