Sense of fear

January 19, 2021

By adopting new policies that hinder immigration, the U.S. immigration system and its affiliated law enforcement agencies, namely U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have become vehicles for the aggressive prosecution of immigrants. As a result, a sense of fear permeates many Latino immigrant communities, and the frightened state of these communities has been exacerbated over the past few years.

“We’ve seen the Trump administration attempting to sow seeds of terror and panic in communities, with the goal being to force folks to go underground and to not be active and engaged and have a voice that they deserve,” Weissman-Ward said. 

That goal of frightening immigrants can have other effects. In cases where immigrants are growing more distrustful of the government, processes such as asylum can be complicated by a lack of willingness to seek legal aid or submit an application for asylum for fear that a simple application could have unintended legal consequences.

Hing said, “Everyone [in that community] knows someone who’s applying for asylum. Everyone who’s a part of that community is living and breathing that stress.” 

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