NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach CountyLake Worth Beach


Fear of ICE raids keeps hundreds of PBC children from school

Posted at 7:19 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-27 11:27:29-04

A memorandum from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly states that President Trump is considering deploying as many as 100,000 National Guard members in 11 states, not including Florida, to round up undocumented immigrants. 


The White House was quick to deny the report, calling it “100 percent false”. 


Immigration lawyer William Cavanaugh said even if the memo was never really considered by the President, it’s still creating fear in the community.


“The memo is enough to be concerning because it’s something that’s out there,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s written. It’s official.”


Cavanaugh said his phone has been rising off the hook for three weeks straight. With the rapid changes in immigration laws since President Trump took office, Cavanaugh said there is a lot of confusion amongst immigration lawyers. 


“It’s sorting through what’s reliable information, what’s not,” Cavanaugh said. “There’s constant development. It’s hard to keep up to be honest with you.”


On Thursday, rumors of an immigration raid outside of schools spread like wildfire. 


Olimpia Mendez, who has lived in the United States with her three children for 13 years, said she didn’t want her children to go to school. Her biggest fear is being separated from her children. 


“They are afraid because we’re undocumented,” Mendez said through a translator. “They fear deportation. They don’t want to be left behind here.”


Tim Gamwell, assistant executive director at the Guatemalan-Maya-Center in Lake Worth said they heard from principals from two schools in the area, who reported around 600 elementary school children didn’t show up for class on Thursday.


“There is a lot of fear in the community,” Gamwell said. “Recently after the executive orders we’ve seen even more rumors about raids.”


Gamwell said while there are more rumors, they haven’t seen more raids since Mr. Trump took office. 


Today’s news about the memo by Sec. Kelly is only adding fuel to the fire.


“Even the headline alone can spark fear,” Gamwell said.