‘No Relief’: Safe For Now, Dreamers Panic About Their Futures

Undocumented residents who came here as children aren't being targeted by Trump's deportation expansion, but they're still worried about their families and futures

Feb 22, 2017 at 3:19 PM ET

The Department of Homeland Security released new guidelines Tuesday identifying broad new swathes of undocumented people as potential targets for deportation.

One group, the so-called Dreamers — people who came illegally to the States when they were children — are seemingly safe for now. But that doesn’t mean they’re relaxing: across online forums and social media, Dreamers are openly worrying about the fates their parents, and if their families will be able to stay intact.

According to memos released Tuesday, Trump is walking back Obama that prioritized deporting violent criminals, opening a path for authorities to target anyone convicted of any offense, including petty crimes or driving without license. In order to enact these policies, DHS will add 10,000 new agents and revive a program which was halted by the Obama administration that allows police officers and sheriff deputies to help with deportation process. But, for now, Trump is leaving intact measures signed by President Obama that grant temporary amnesty to the youngest immigrants, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

That hasn’t done much to ease panic among immigrant communities. “Now basically everyone is a priority for removal,” Jose Mendez, a 24-year-old Dreamer from Ohio, told Vocativ. “Our parents are a priority now — even my parents.”

Mendez added that he is afraid, following reports of the detention of some DACA beneficiaries, that the Trump administration “is going to use excuses to try and deport some Dreamers.” And so, he said, he doesn’t “feel any relief at all.”

Fear and uncertainty like his echoed across DACA communities on Facebook. One of the posts said, “The news sound somewhat good, but we cannot celebrate! We CANNOT sit and watch others get deported… We must continue to fight for our undocumented family members, our neighbors, friends, co-workers.”

In another group that’s usually dedicated to questions and answers about the DACA process, a user echoed that, calling on members to fight for immigrant rights whether or not they’re directly at risk: “We still need to keep fighting for our near future and others not covered under DACA.”