Trump's Immigration Stance Means Suffering for Some Virginia Families

Apr 17, 2017

Credit ICE

The Trump Administration has vowed to send immigrants without documents back to their own countries – especially those with a criminal record, but it’s clear some of those arrested here in Virginia were guilty of minor offenses, and whole families are suffering as Sandy Hausman reports.

The story you’re about to hear involves a high school student from Albemarle County.  To protect his identity, we’ll call him Michael.  He came here from Mexico with his parents when he was a baby, and thanks to an executive order during the Obama Administration, he’s now treated as a legal resident working toward citizenship.  He says that’s a source of pride for his dad, who came here to work for a landscaping company.

“He’s so happy that I have the opportunity with the Dream Act to push forward, strive for success, and to just live a happy life, and he won’t see that.”

That’s because Michael’s dad was arrested for downloading songs from the Internet.

“ICE picked him up and sent him to Farmville.  Now that he’s at Farmville he’s going to get deported and go back to Mexico.”

Michael, seen here, is treated as a legal resident due to an Obama administration policy. His father, however, was recently detained by ICE officials for downloading music over the internet.

The arrest itself was traumatic for Michael, his brother, sister and mom.

“I was at the house when it happened, and it was terrifying, because as an immigrant or as a Hispanic we get seen as an enemy, as drug dealers or gang members or cartel members.  They just came in swarming guns.”

And his father faces an uncertain future.

“You go back to a country you haven’t been in forever, and you have to start all over.  It’s a scary thing, you know?”

And it’s likely more Virginia residents will face a similar fate as the federal government tries to persuade local law enforcement to help round-up and deport others who are here without papers.