Spike in immigration raids spark fear for undocumented Filipinos

by Connie Macatula-DeLeon, ABS-CBN News


CHICAGO — Almost a month since President Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, there has been 680 immigrants arrested nationwide,  according to the Department of Homeland Security .

Here in Chicago, rumors of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) checkpoints at train stations have been dispelled — but immigrant communities remain fearful.

A Filipino man, who asked to conceal his identity, fell out of status after an unscrupulous employer refused to renew his visa.

Now an undocumented immigrant, he decided to tough it out in the US.

Thinking of his family back home, he has since taken odd jobs, and gets paid under-the-table.

He says his american dream has become a nightmare

“Hindi pa nga kami nakakaahon, papauwiin ka na,” the immigrant said. “Hindi ka naman kaagad makakahanap ng trabaho sa Pilipinas ng basta basta.”

(“We are still drowning in debt, then they’ll send us home. Finding a job in the Philippines is not easy.”)

In Chicago alone, about 50 foreign nationals were arrested by ICE last week.

The arrests, according to Homeland Security, are no different than the routine raids against unlawful criminals, and are not part of a crackdown promised by President Trump.

On Monday, President Trump said his administration’s priority is to get the bad ones, the criminals, out of the country.

“We’re actually taking people that are criminals, very hardened criminals in some cases, with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems, and we’re getting them out,” Trump said.

Although this Pinoy does not have any criminal history, he says — he is still scared of the ongoing immigration raids.

“Kinakabahan ako na isa ako sa mga ma ra random check. Wala kang kasiguraduhan na makaka stay ka pa dito o mapapauwi ka.”

With $10,000 in debt due to recruitment fees, plane fare, and regular remittances to his family back home, this kababayan is scared to be judged and to disappoint his loved ones — especially if he gets deported to the Philippines.

“Natatakot ka na makita ka ng pamilya mo na hindi ka successful. Tapos, marami kang pinromise sa kanila na pagdating ko ng US, lahat ng gusto ninyo, makukuha ninyo.”

(“I’m nervous for my family to see me unsuccessful. I promised everything to them when I left them in the Philippines, and told them that they can have everything they want.”)

Meanwhile, President Trump had a press conference Thursday where he said he’s issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country. The details of the order are yet to be unveiled.


3 Comments on this post.

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  • Mario
    20 February 2017 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    DHS hiring 10,000 agents to go after 950,000 illegals with deportation order issued during Obama’s regime. After Trump inauguration 680 were arrested as of today,ICE has custody of just 11,006 or 1% of 950K. DHS is hiring hundreds of Filipino speaking agents, this is a Federal job with complete benefits. Google; DHS/employment

  • Santiago Del Mundo
    27 February 2017 at 6:44 am - Reply

    President Duterte said, if you know it is illegal for you to stay in America, get out of there!

  • h
    27 February 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    About this man who says his American dream has become a nightmare, why you could have gone back to the Philippines when the unscrupulous employer refused to renew his visa. That’s why people like you make it hard the other people that is in America the right way. Why you should go back to the Philippines and try to come to America the right way like the other people from Philippines that came into America the right way. Look sooner or later you will be caught and it will be harder for you to come back to America. I have a friend that was caught about begin in America from the Philippines for two years illegal and he was given a one ticket from a FDC to back to the Philippines and can’t come back to America for ten years.