Woman calls constant fear of deportation 'a nightmare'
Posted February 20
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.