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Fear And Panic Grows Among Immigrant Communities

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For the roughly 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the new immigration and deportation policies of the Trump administration have caused a growing sense of stress and panic.

Now, following a late February release of new immigration enforcement guidelines, immigrants are creating new routines to protect their lives.

"We got over 1,000 phone calls in three days about the [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] raids," Cristina Parker, immigration programs director for Grassroots Leadership, said, reports The Associated Press. "And certainly a lot of those were people who wanted information about the raids saying, 'I'm scared, I'm worried, what can I do?'... A lot of them were people who were impacted by the raids who saw a friend or family be taken."

In Los Angeles, the panic has caused many to fear even routine policing checkpoints around the city.

"Claiming the agency has set up checkpoints at multiple locations in Los Angeles or that the agency is conducting random 'raids' are completely baseless," Lori K. Haley, an ICE spokesperson, told LAist.

"There was no way I could sleep, worried about what was going to happen next," Edwin Romero, an immigrant living in Richardson City, Texas, said, notes WFAA. Romero was held for 15 hours in jail as authorities processed his immigration hold.

"I am deeply troubled by recent reports from across the country that immigrants with no criminal history are being arrested and deported as a result of the president’s executive orders,” Rep. Salud Carbajal, a Democrat from California, wrote in a statement, according to the Ventura County Star. He then added, “Local ICE has informed our office that so far there has been no significant change in ICE operating procedure on the Central Coast” of California.

AP described the situation "in Orange County, California, [where] dozens of immigrant parents have signed legal documents authorizing friends and relatives to pick up their children from school and access their bank accounts to pay their bills in the event they are arrested by immigration agents."

Abril Gallardo, an immigrant living in Arizona, concluded, "We have a regular life, but with this new [Trump] executive order, anyone, just for the fact that you're here, you can become a priority."

Sources: AP via Yahoo, LAist, WFAA, Ventura County Star / Photo credit: U.S. Government/Wikimedia Commons

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