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Spanish Language Media Coverage of Immigration Raids Highlights Widespread Fear in Community

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In leading Spanish language media outlets, the Obama Administration’s home raids against Central American refugees are dominating coverage. In reporting and reflections, key Spanish language outlets and commentators are highlighting how the raids are causing panic and fear in the entire immigrant community, as well as the extraordinary steps the immigrant community is taking as a result.

We excerpt several of the key stories below (translated into English by America’s Voice):

Noticiero Telemundo reports on the extreme measures taken by undocumented immigrants who are fearing being deported: “Even though the target of the deportations are mostly Central American immigrants that were detained crossing the border after May 2014, the fear has spread throughout the immigrant community.  Guatemalan Karina Hernández says that even when she is at home, she fears being detained by ICE: “I tried not to open the door or I ask who is outside my door.” Reverend Martín García, from Presbyterian Church Agape in California, says that some of his parishioners are “either moving to other homes or to other states fearing that at any moment the raids will start happening in California.”

BBC Mundo, via La Opiniónin an article entitled “The Card that Latinos are Using to Defend Themselves from ICE Raids” reports that the card was shared by pro immigrant groups on social media and it reads:  “I wish to exercise my right to remain silent and not answer questions. I request to communicate immediately with my lawyer.” The group Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), also started a phone hotline to advise immigrants. The group’s press release states that “we should not let ICE terrorize our communities.”

Agencia EFE, via La Opiniónreports that approximately 10,000 children could face deportation. According to the piece, 20% of 50,000 cases received deportation orders, this according to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), a DOJ branch. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said that most of the cases did not receive an order to appear before a judge or the order simply arrived too late.

David Torres writes for the America´s Voice en Español website“Sure, the government is doing their job – but is it their job to terrorize vast sectors of the immigrant community as if we lived in a totalitarian state? Because right now fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are not just subject of conversation among immigrant families from Central America, they are serious subjects within immigrants from Mexico and South America as well.

Immigration officers went to my daughter’s house, knocked on the door, and asked for somebody who did not live there. Despite the answer that was provided to them, immigration officials still insisted with entering the home. After they refused to let them in, the agents finally left.

This was the account my older brother, who resides in North Carolina, provided me with last week. After this ‘encounter’ my niece and her family, who are originally from Mexico, are now taking extra precautions when leaving their home.  The immigrant community is known for trying to fix their own circumstances, often without asking for help, but this time around they have taken extreme measures. As some newspapers have reported in the past days, immigrant families have taken extreme measures on their own, such as abandoning their homes and moving in with relatives; to avoiding leaving their homes; to remaining united if anything were to happen; to carrying a form of identification; to carrying information that informs authorities of the immigrant’s rights; to calling or texting family to ensure that the individual is safe. These are desperate measures that have been employed in order to combat the fear and uncertainty currently felt by immigrants across the nation; especially given the political climate that continues to brew xenophobia and discrimination – two notions that some believed to have banished from the United States. Instead, xenophobia and discrimination are the very things that are fueling the extreme right and the nativists, tools that are only helping to propagate ignorance and intolerance.” 

In reflections posted on the America´s Voice en Español website last weekTorres recounted the comment of “Freddy,” a Salvadorian who works in Maryland, about the prospects of being deported: “I can’t go back, they would kill me too. And if that happens, who will look out for my kids?”