Immigration policy scares Liberal students

Jessica Aldave-Ramos, Reporter

The Colvin Adult Learning Center students participated in A Day Without Immigrants. An instructor confirmed that a significant amount of students didn’t come to class on Feb. 16, which was A Day Without Immigrants. Immigrants all over the United States protested president Trump’s executive order by not going to work or school. Businesses were shut down across the country. Schools saw a significant amount of students absent. The protest was to show how the executive order affects our nation.

Two executive orders have been signed by Trump to keep immigrants from entering the country and deport the ones that are here illegally. Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, confirmed the nationwide launch of arresting undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Earlier in the week, rumors of immigration officers in Liberal, Dodge City and Garden City “picking people up” circulated. The rumor turned out to be true as Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson, Shawn Neudauer, told The Garden City Telegram, “There were [six] arrests in Liberal.”

Courtesy SCCC Public Relations
SCCC tried to encourage students with this show of support issued through the college president’s office.

The scare from the rumors and actions have one student from Seward County Community College expressing concern for her family.

“I was on the phone with my mom and she was explaining how my brother has to come to town next week and I am going to have to go get her because the cops are pulling people over left and right just to look for immigrants. It’s sad seeing the people you love terrified as h— to know they might be taken away from their families,” freshman Diana Carillo says.

Students believe other immigrants don’t want to go outside, because they are afraid that the cops will stop them, or someone will report them. The people that are afraid do not want to risk being taken away. People are scared to take their kids to work, because they don’t want to get pulled over and taken away. It’s affecting a lot of families in Liberal.  Since the immigration ban in January, immigrants residing locally say they live in fear.

“I think it’s sad seeing our parents and friends scared of what’s going on. [They] are scared of driving to town just because the thought of getting pulled over could cause them everything they have here. [They] are risking taking their child to school knowing they might not make it back home,” Carillo says.

Students, lawyers, and pharmacists moved here from Mexico for a better life. They work in the Liberal community and many attend the college and/or Colvin Learning Center. Due to the new executive order, some SCCC students are scared to come to class.

Adult Basic Education instructor Maria Fe Laguitan explains that she thinks students are afraid of the executive order being enforced in Liberal.

“[Students] are still scared because of what other people are telling them and also what they are hearing on the news,” Laguitan says.

 In spite of what students are hearing, the college’s president, Ken Trzaska, affirmed in a letter to the entire student body that Seward is a place where people don’t have to be afraid. SCCC welcomes students despite where they are from.

“We welcome all students without regard to their immigration status. We will continue to admit students without discrimination, because of national origin,” wrote Trzaska. “We ensure the privacy of student records, including immigration status, consistent with state and federal laws.”

If students have questions about their particular circumstances, contact Mariah Cline, campus counselor at 620-417-4283, or  or Celeste Donovan, vice-president of student services, at 620-629-5589.

Helpful tips for immigrants

  1. If stopped by the police, you have the right to remain silent.
  2. If stopped in your car and an immigration officer or agent asks to search your car you can refuse, unless the police have reasonable evidence to.
  3. If asked immigration status, you have the right to remain silent.
  4. If the police or immigration agents come to your house you don’t have to let them in, unless they have a warrant.
(source: US Immigration)