Undocumented and afraid: Triangle immigrants react to new Trump crackdown threat

Call it a tale of two cities Tuesday night In Orlando -- President Donald Trump officially kicked off his re-election campaign with promises of a new crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

And, back in west Raleigh, Hispanic and Latin Americans flocked to PNC Arena to see Mexican singing icon Luis Miguel in concert -- with plenty to say about the president's get-tough immigration tweets.

"I know and respect he's the president," said Orlando Reyes, a Salvadoran immigrant from Raleigh. "But I just don't see how he can kick out that many people from this country. I just don't see how."

Roxanne Caraballo works as a migrant advocate and recruiter in Brunswick County.

"I think that if (President Trump) wants to continue to eat, I think he's gonna have a hard time," Caraballo said referring to the countless numbers of undocumented immigrants currently working in American agriculture. "Because who's gonna work our fields? Who's gonna provide?"

Caraballo says the migrants she works with every day are now living in fear.

"All the time," she said. "But yet they still have to work because they still have to provide."

Reyes agreed. The fear of sudden deportation is palpable.

"Their kids have to stay here in America, the parents have to go out of the country. And it just, for the kids, they don't know what to do," Reyes described.

Hours earlier the Trump Administration spelled out the new immigration enforcement effort that it's calling the Criminal Alien Program.

It details an ICE-wide directive targeting undocumented immigrants with criminal records who pose a threat to public safety.

"Mass illegal migration reduces living standards and strains public resources," President Trump told his supporters at the re-election rally in Orlando.

A public safety threat does not describe Vicente Cabrera, who came here at age 14 from Mexico, with a mother seeking a better life. He now owns his own painting and drywall company in Raleigh.

"I would not have the life I have now if I still lived in Mexico," Cabrera said. "America is more opportunity for everybody."

U.S. officials with knowledge of the Trump Administration plans say the operation is not imminent but will begin in the coming weeks and be nationwide.

Meanwhile, back here at home, immigration rights advocates are staging a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the General Assembly to lobby against State House Bill 370, a controversial measure requiring local sheriff cooperation with ICE.
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