Greensboro immigrant community reacts to executive orders

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Laura Garduno-Garcia is a proud Greensboro resident. She owns a home in the area, likes her job and is raising her two children here.

“Greensboro is an awesome place, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else and this is home to me,” she said.

Garduno-Garcia’s parents brought her here illegally more than 20 years ago from Mexico. Garduno-Garcia credits the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, with giving her the ability to settle down and start a life without fear of having to move. DACA was an executive order of former President Barack Obama in 2012.

“We are young people who have been raised in this country and that we only know this to be our home,” she said.

But Garduno-Garcia says President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration have many in her community fearing they might be ripped from their homes.

The president’s orders promise the building of a wall between the US and Mexico, it also adds 5,000 border patrol agents and says anyone who is caught illegally crossing the border will be imprisoned.

But Greensboro immigration attorney Jeremy McKinney says people in the Triad area are more concerned over how the administration plans to crack down on undocumented immigrants already living in the US.

“The executive order that was signed today makes any person that has been charged, not convicted, charged with any crime a priority for deportation. That should strike fear with everyone because in North Carolina most traffic offense are criminal offenses,” McKinney said.

Obama had previously made felons, violent criminals, drug dealers, gang members and other such criminals a priority for deportation.

Garduno-Garcia says members of her family have all different immigration statuses and the new order would put some of them at risk.

“It would instill fear, like, what if I don’t turn my turning light on and I get stopped? And that’s just a very small mistake that we all make at some point in time,” she said.

The executive orders also ban sanctuary cities and threatens to withhold funding from cities that fail to inform immigration officials of an undocumented immigrant who has been charged with a crime.

“No one in our community is opposed to violent individuals and individuals that have long violent criminal records from being arrested and being deported, but that is not what this order says,” McKinney said.

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