Colorado undocumented immigrants living in fear, planning for deportation

Posted at 9:52 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 17:11:28-05

DENVER -- President Donald Trump's immigration policies have alarmed local undocumented immigrants and advocates say many are living in fear - too scared to leave their homes or send their kids to school.

"It is very fearful and it's hard to live life like this," said Tania Chairez, a parent organizer at the non-profit Padres Jovenes Unidos. "Everyone's unsure if there's going to be raids or if their students are going to be safe in their schools."

To help ease fears, Padres Unidos has been holding "know your rights" training while also helping families with emergency planning.

"I know it's real because I feel like it and my family feels it," Chairez said.

Chairez is undocumented and so are her parents, but her three younger siblings are U.S. citizens, which has forced the family to make decisions they've never had to before.

"It's definitely emotional to tell my parents if you are deported, you need to have this letter saying that either I can take care of my siblings or someone else has to take care of them," she said.

"They bring their entire family into the office and ask for this information," said immigration attorney Christina Brown.

Brown and other local immigration attorneys have been flooded with calls. Brown has helped dozens of families set up a plan and sign power of attorney paperwork for their kids in case they're deported.

"These families are having really hard discussions but it's really necessary because one day mom or dad or both may not come home," she said.

"It's a lot to take in," Chairez said.

Chairez has some protections under the DREAM Act and she also has a DACA work permit. She's more concerned about the future of her parents and the rest of the Latina community.

"We are in very critical times and our community needs to stick together," said Chairez.

Padres Jovenes Unidos suggests immigrants have all their documents in order and to make extra copies to keep in a trusted U.S. citizen's home.

"You shouldn't undertake these issues without talking to someone first," Brown said.

Padres Jovenes Unidos will hold another "know your rights" training on Thursday, March 9th at 5:30 p.m. at 3025 W. 37th Ave. The event is free and open to the public.


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