Local News

Woman calls constant fear of deportation 'a nightmare'

Posted February 20

Belen and her husband are in the U.S. illegally, but their three sons were all born in the country. She worries about what will happen to them if she is deported.

As the White House finalizes a sweeping immigration plan that would give federal authorities greater power to detain and deport people in the U.S. illegally, immigration attorneys are advising those who might be affected to make preparations to care for their families.

Belen spends her days taking care of her three young children and her nights worrying that they will grow up without her.

"I can’t believe this is happening. Sometimes, I want to think this is a nightmare," she said Monday.

Her three sons were born in the United States, but Belen and her husband are in the country illegally. Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents came to her home looking for a relative, and she narrowly avoided being detained and deported.

"I saw firsthand what it's like to have ICE come into your house, and it's something that definitely traumatized me," she said. "I live in fear. I wonder what’s going to happen."

Immigration attorney Yesenia Polanco is advising clients to draw up a power of attorney and custody arrangements for children in case the worst-case scenario happens.

"ICE is not going to care if they show up at your house at 10 a.m. to detain you that there’s not going to be someone there at 2:30 when your child gets off the bus," Polanco said. "They're very difficult conversations to have, very difficult but true."

She likened the immigration upheaval to a hurricane and tells her clients that being prepared can help mitigate the damage.

Belen planned to attend a community workshop at El Pueblo on Monday night to learn how to craft a power of attorney.

"It's scary. I wasn’t ready, wasn’t really thinking about going through with it, but it's something I think my family needs," she said.


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  • Charles Williams Feb 21, 11:42 a.m.
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    Sweetie, these illegal aliens have taken resources from black folks. They are thieves. They multiply like rats. They are stealing jobs from black Americans. For the life of me I don't understand why other blacks embrace them. WE were brought here in chains in the holds off slave ships, not these menaces

  • Charles Williams Feb 21, 11:39 a.m.
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    They didn't have border laws in those days. Sorry cupcake, the Bible doesn't apply here. Our immigration laws do. How about YOU take them in and support them?

  • Walter Greene Feb 21, 8:47 a.m.
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    It is not racism to stand on the side of the law when it comes to illegal immigration. First of all, Mexicans, Central Americans, and South Americans are not a race. Secondly, ignoring the laws that don't suit you leads to anarchy, and that never ends well for a country. For a society to thrive, its members have to respect the laws that are in place to protect ALL members of that society. It is the epitome of selfishness and ignorance to believe that you and others who think like you are above the law - and that those who don't think like you are racists, bigots, etc. There are limits to everything, including the number of immigrants who can be processed and assimilated into a country without having a very negative impact on the citizens of that country.

  • Jeff Freuler Feb 21, 5:59 a.m.
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    I cannot have sympathy for someone here illegally. When you had your children here and you refuse to get your citizenship then that's on you

  • Dean Morron Feb 21, 3:27 a.m.
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    Hmmm, to all those bashing the white race " as if being illegal " is our fault ...... Grow UP buttercups, These people are here illegally ..... let me say this again, they are here illegally. In most other countries they would already be in jail. The sad part ..... whomever their employers are , well, they should be in jail also.... yes it is a criminal offense to hire illegals.

    So many people missing the point ..... if you are here legally .... GREAT, glad to have you.... and that's where the story needs to end.

  • Wayne Talley Feb 20, 8:51 p.m.
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    What part of ILLEGAL don't people understand? You broke the law, you should be in constant fear.

  • Audrey Taylor Feb 20, 8:46 p.m.
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    I know the perfect place for ICE to go...MONCURE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER in moncure, NC. They can round up about 200-400 illegals in one day.

  • Kathy Beasley Rivenbark Feb 20, 7:47 p.m.
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    I don't really know it all works but IMO, if you are just sitting, waiting and worrying that ICE is coming then you are nothing more than a problem to be dealt with. Perhaps if you would take the initiative to work toward becoming a LEGAL immigrant [citizen] then maybe the Feds would be more willing to work with you.
    I really feel for those who have young children, but coming here to have a family was wrong and it boggles my mind that they seem unable to understand illegal means a law was broken to get here, thereby making those illegals criminals? And they brought it upon themselves.

  • Michael Bawden Feb 20, 7:09 p.m.
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    Trump just announced a Federal program to support those families with members murdered by ILLEGAL immigrants