A Lake Worth family recently watched ICE officers arrest one of their family members. Nearby residents now fear more arrests will happen in their neighborhood.
An undocumented immigrant who didn’t want to be identified said every day she wakes up with a new fear.
“She is scared because she has a family member that was deported a couple days ago,” said a Guatemalan-Maya Center volunteer.
The Guatemalan-Maya Center is a non-profit based in Lake Worth. The organization serves about 600 families a year helping them with meals, filling out paperwork, as well as other social services. Now they are helping fulfill a new need; comforting families that are being separated by law enforcement.
“There’s one young boy whose father was detained by immigration and deported, and that boy who was a sweet and innocent child started picking fights in school. That was a 5-year-old so there’s an immediate impact on the lives we are serving,” said assistant executive director Tim Gamwell.
The undocumented immigrant who recently watched a deportation said she used to view the U.S. as the country of dreams and now she feels everything has changed. The woman came to the U.S. in the late 1990s with a dream of living in a safe neighborhood and securing a job to provide for her family. She now comforts kids, including her own relatives, whose families are being torn apart.
“Yeah, the kids are sick and crying every day because they don’t like it because they never separate from the dad,” said the undocumented woman.
She’s not the only one anxious about the future.
“A lot of the anxiety and a lot of the trauma that these kids are facing we won’t see the true effects of that for years to come and so anything we can do to help these children and their families has to be done right now,” said Gamwell.
The recent back and forth between politicians about the zero-tolerance policy is not helping. However, until it gets resolved the undocumented woman said she isn’t giving up hope.
“Yeah, the Congress, that they can work together for the families,” said the undocumented woman.
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