January 19, 2017
By Fran Maye
When Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, it marks the beginning of uncertainty for Latinos in southern Chester County.
Trump has vowed to deport an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, first going after the estimated three million who have been convicted of crimes. And he said he plans to do it immediately after assuming office.
“There is fear, and our world is shaken,” said Luis Tovar, who heads up the Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs in Kennett Square, where more than half the population is Latino. “There is a lot of fear, and people are afraid they will be split from their families. (Trump) said he will export illegal immigrants and we need to understand how that process will work.”
Many undocumented citizens work in jobs such as the landscape industry, getting paid under the table and off the IRS radar. There are more undocumented citizens living in southern Chester County than anywhere else in the county.
“Even if you are documented, there is a real risk of misidentification and being pulled out, and put through interrogation and investigation,” said Wayne Braffman, a Kennett Square public official who is also a member of Kennett Area Democrats. “If (Trump’s) measures are put in place, everybody will be at risk. Even those who are documented, I would bet they have friends, relatives or neighbors who are not documented.”
Paola Rosas, who hails from Mexico City, Mexico and is a liaison to Latinos locally, said she is in the process of forming a group to help Latinos if they get targeted by Trump’s planned deportation policy.
“These people have families, but their children were born here, so they would be separated,” she said. “But they would go if they have to because they want their kids to have the opportunities the U.S. offers.”
Miguel Alban, whose firm Hispanic Approach helps Latinos to bridge the gap between corporate America and the fast-growing Hispanic market, said Trump would be a fool if he follows through with his threat to deport illegals.
“He’s a business guy,” Alban said of Trump. “He wants to fix the economy, and the stupidest thing he could do is get rid of all the Latinos. If he deports Latinos, the will get rid of the Latino purchasing power, about $1.3 trillion. Hispanics work very hard, and a lot are here legally, but some are here illegally. They are aware something might happen, and they are afraid.”
Braffman said during the election last year, there was a spike in Latino involvement and voter registration.
“They are scared,” he said. “Their fear is widespread, it’s deep, and it’s justified. And the fear is not limited to people are undocumented.”
Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration has been central to his platform which began when he called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers on the day he announced his candidacy. He has pledged to build a border wall and create a deportation force. His ideas apparently resonated with voters.
But Trump would need tens of billions of dollars in new spending approved by Congress to make his plan work. New enforcement agents would need to be hired, and hundreds of judges would be needed to take pressure off backlogged immigration courts.
Tovar said if Trump follows through on his deportation promise, it will decimate the economy of southern Chester County.
“The mushroom industry here represents a $540 million revenue base,” he said. “Our communities get a chunk of that. What happens if you are documented or undocumented and you can’t find workers to sustain that level of revenue?”
Source: Daily Local News