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Election Brings Fear to PA Immigrant Community

Immigration advocates say they are planning to disrupt ICE raids. (sanctuaryphiladelphia.org)
Immigration advocates say they are planning to disrupt ICE raids. (sanctuaryphiladelphia.org)
November 10, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – President-elect Donald Trump's election victory is raising fears in Pennsylvania's immigrant community.

Trump has said after he takes office he will move quickly to cancel President Barack Obama's Deferred Action program for immigrants who arrived as children, and ramp up deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Peter Pedemonti, executive director of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, says immigrants his organization has interviewed are speechless and in shock.

"Their children are terrified that they're going to be separated, but we're also hearing people talk about, 'We've always known that this hate and racism has been a reality for us in this country, and Trump's victory is bringing it to the surface for everyone to see,'" he relates.

Trump has said many undocumented immigrants are dangerous, and charges that they use government resources they don't pay for. But studies show undocumented workers actually pay billions in taxes without being able to receive benefits.

Pedemonti notes that those who advocate on behalf of the immigrant community in sanctuary cities throughout Pennsylvania and the across country are committed to continuing their work.

"What I hear is people digging deep and being really grounded in their faith traditions,” he states. “Looking to their faith to respond, recommitting to organizing, standing up against this hatred and fear and racism."

In Philadelphia, the New Sanctuary Movement maintains a 24-hour Emergency Raid Hotline to report raids by immigration officials. The movement also plans to recruit 1,000 people in the next two months to disrupt raids in progress.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA