Saturday, January 7, 2017

Undocumented Immigrants Brace for the Trump Administration

By Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker
December 19, 2016

One night late last month, Antonio Alarcón, a twenty-two-year-old senior at cuny, came home to the apartment he shares with his uncle and aunt, who are undocumented, and found a pile of boxes and bags stacked by the door. “We want to be prepared,” they told him, in case immigration authorities raided the residence. Then they all sat down to eat dinner.

Many immigrant families have been living in similar states of anxiety since the Presidential election. Donald Trump has vowed to deport undocumented immigrants en masse, and no one knows what will happen after he is sworn in next month. “We’re expecting the worst,” Alarcón told me recently, when we met at a café near his house, in Queens. Dealing with so much uncertainty about the future has had both psychological and physical consequences, particularly for young people. Suicide hotlines catering to immigrants have reported significant upticks in phone calls in the past few weeks. There have been widespread reports of depression and heightened stress among young immigrants. “We always get lost in the politics of the election,” Luba Cortés, an organizer from Queens, told me. “We don’t think about the emotional toll on the people who are going to be most affected.” According to Julie Linton, the co-chair of a group that specializes in immigrant health at the American Academy of Pediatrics, “There have been complaints from young patients about stomachaches and headaches, body aches and joint pain. Kids are depressed. Some are having trouble focussing in school.”[...]

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