Fear of Deportation a Real Concern for Students

Godinez students worry that their loved ones or themselves could be torn from their home and families.

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Fear of Deportation a Real Concern for Students

Community members of Los Alamitos showing up to support SB54 on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Community members of Los Alamitos showing up to support SB54 on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Citlali Ruiz

Community members of Los Alamitos showing up to support SB54 on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Citlali Ruiz

Citlali Ruiz

Community members of Los Alamitos showing up to support SB54 on Monday, April 16, 2018.

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“Right now I am choosing to exercise my legal rights. I will remain silent, and refuse to answer your questions. If I am detained, I have the right to contact an attorney immediately. I refuse to sign anything without advice from an attorney.”

Carlos Perea, Policy Director at Resilience Orange County, suggests that everyone carries this short speech on a card to assert their rights if they are stopped by law enforcement. Perea also recommends that people have an attorney’s information on hand on the other side of the card.

Today’s unstable political climate has created a deep sense of instability in our country, arguably no group has felt this more than the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

When asked how deportation insecurity affects Carlos Perea’s family, he said, “The threat of deportations has caused fear, anxiety and uncertainty in our communities. It affects the way families interact with their community in a negative way.”

From DACA to The Wall, the United States immigrant population is being used as political chess pieces for Democrats and Republicans alike. In addition, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ramped up the rate of deportations in recent years, with the 2017 figures surpassing 2016 numbers by 16,582.

The matter of immigration has been largely left up to individual states, although federal action appears on the horizon for the U.S.

California is one of the few states in the country that has been declared a sanctuary state, meaning local officials can not cooperate with federal immigration agents when asking for your immigration status. The “Sanctuary Bill” originally authored by senator Kevin De Leon, known as SB54 helps create “safe zones” within schools, hospitals, and courthouses. SB54 protects undocumented communities, making it hard for city officials to cooperate with ICE.  

On a local level, Orange County is becoming one of the main counties within California that has cities such as: Los Alamitos, Costa Mesa, Westminster, and Buena Park opposing SB54. This means cities will work with ICE agents.

Los Alamitos has been “ground zero” for many organizations and anti-immigrant groups. Mayor Troy Edgar recently said in a local interview with TV news station KTLA that he has talked with local ICE agents and Edgar said, “We would love to host you.”

These counties are creating immigration insecurities for families, friends, siblings, and the community including students at Godinez.

Senior, Mildred Pacheco, believes that since President Donald Trump came into office, laws are stricter, but thinks it is still the same today as before Trump took office.

”It’s the same as always, maybe it is harder now because of the Trump administration, “Pacheco said.

Deportation has been a problem for Pacheco because her uncle was deported. Her uncle was not a criminal, he immigrated to California, looking for a better future, but after getting deported he has decided to stay in Mexico. She hopes that conditions for immigrants to enter the country don’t become more difficult since Trump is really anti-immigrant.  

Pacheco’s uncle has a family that he left behind in the United States. She mentioned that her uncle had a wife and kids that are already grown with their own families. Pacheco said that her uncle is a grandpa who has never met his grandkids.


Gabriela Lopez
Senior Paloma Rivera plans to attend Orange Coast College as her future and her family’s status here remains

Another senior, Paloma Rivera, voices her concerns of the rising tensions between the Trump Administration and undocumented communities. With many deportations happening in the nation, she fears for herself and her family’s safety.

“[President Trump] is making it more of a big deal than it was years ago,” Rivera said. As a teenager, she wishes she could go out with friends, but as someone who is undocumented, those wishes can’t come true. Her parents feel for her status. This is the case for many across the nation.

“My biggest fear is not having a good future,” she said. “Right now, my future isn’t set- it’s just an idea because I never know when I might get deported.” Despite all obstacles, Rivera says she is doing whatever she can do to get where she wants to be, including getting her degree in psychology.


Citlali Ruiz attending Los Alamitos rally to support SB54 on Monday, April 16, 2018.


Citlali Ruiz, our own staff writer faces deportation insecurities everyday. Ruiz constantly lives in fear. Ruiz’s daily routines consists of making sure her family is careful wherever they go. She recommends that every family have all their legal documents and an attorney that is ready to help them if they are ever detained.  

“I fear for my family but I know we have to keep going. I can’t be scared; we must continue with our fight,” Ruiz said.

The true reality of deportation insecurity is our families, students, and community face this everyday.

The Public Law Center in Santa Ana offers free legal services to low income families in Orange County. They serve a wide range of clients, including: immigrants, minorities, veterans, seniors, children, and low-income residents of Orange County. The issues range from: domestic violence, human trafficking, guardianship, housing, health, bankruptcy, asylum, family law, consumer fraud, immigration, discrimination, and advocacy.

As Rivera and Ruiz, prepare to graduate, with an uncertain future, both will continue with their education and start college in the fall. Rivera plans on attending Orange Coast College and Ruiz will attend Santa Ana College.

For more information contact The Public Law Center at:

601 Civic Center Drive West

Santa Ana, CA 92701-4002

Phone: (714) 541-1010

Fax: (714) 541-5157

[email protected]