Immigrants feel welcome in America

After the Trump election Children of illegal US immigrants fear deportation

"Nobody can say what will happen to me if my work permit expires," says the 30-year-old Nigerian native. She has lived in Washington D.C. for 28 years. Her father came on a student visa. The family stayed in the US illegally when that visa expired. Marybeth grew up in the USA, she doesn't know her country of origin at all.

"As a result, of course, we forfeited the possibility of legal immigration. But I only realized that when I turned 13. My view of life has completely changed because I can't remember Nigeria at all. I have no point of contact with the country Now I have to prepare myself for the fact that I could be deported. That is very worrying. "

Residence permits under Obama

700,000 such people live in the United States. Children who entered the country as minors with their parents and have no legal status - but grew up here and feel like Americans. A problem that can only be solved permanently with a reform of the immigration laws. Since this was not possible with the Republican Congress, four years ago President Obama issued a so-called Executive Order, a presidential directive.

This directive, called DACA for short, provides that children who are illegally brought into the country by their parents as minors can receive a residence permit and a work permit. To do this, you have to report to the responsible authorities and register. It was a blessing for Claudia Qiunonez. She is 21 years old and came to Hyattsville, Maryland with her mother from Bolivia 11 years ago.

"I was finally able to get my driver's license. I'm now one year away from my political science degree. And I couldn't have done any of that without the DACA."

The procedure is clear: even if these children cannot help that their parents immigrated illegally, the DACA program also meant that they had to make themselves honest. They had to disclose all private information, including access to their accounts by the immigration authorities, said Marybeth: "You know where I live and who my friends are. You know where I work. You have access to my bank account. You have everything this information."

Now Marybeth and Claudia are afraid that Donald Trump will take his deportation policy seriously. As he explained in an interview with the television station CBS over the weekend: "We're going to deport people with criminal records, gangsters, drug dealers. That's a lot of people, probably two to three million. We'll get them out of the country . You are here illegally. "

"Everyone in Austin should feel welcome."

In fact, there are two million undocumented immigrants with a criminal record, most of them for minor, non-violent offenses such as shoplifting and driving without a license. You can be deported immediately. However, this has already happened under President Obama. Donald Trump has no answer to cases like Marybeth and Claudia because they evade his black and white election campaign slogans. The two young women grew up in the USA and feel like Americans, says Claudia Qiunonez: "The illegal life was hard. Because I felt like an American, I was an American teenager who grew up in the American school system. But I wasn't American because I didn't have a social security number. "

There are currently 150 cities and towns in the US that refuse to turn undocumented immigrants over to immigration authorities, including Austin, Texas. At a solidarity demonstration, Austin's Mayor Steve Adler is combative: "Everyone in Austin should feel safe and welcome."

But that could soon be over. Trump wants cities that give refuge to illegal immigrants no longer to give federal government grants in the future. The refugee activist Michelle Brane of the Women's Refugee Commission fears that Trump will initially crack down on: "I think nobody will listen to us in the discussion. And the focus of the debate will be on deportation and internment."

What happens to immigrants who have lived in the United States from childhood is not part of Trump's program. For the time being, they will have to live in grueling uncertainty in the country that they feel is their home.