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CoastLine: How Crackdowns on Undocumented Immigrants are Affecting Children

Makaristos / Wikimedia Commons
A sign at the international boundary between Canada and the United States in Point Roberts, Washington

The revised Presidential Executive Order banning travel from six mostly-Muslim countries, called a “watered-down version” of the first by President Donald Trump, is now blocked from going into effect by two federal judges -- in Hawaii and Maryland – as of Thursday morning.    

But in light of the movement to crack down on who is coming in to the country, we’re also seeing a crackdown on people who are already here who may not be here legally.  The efforts to find those people are called Targeted Enforcement Operations. 

The Guardian reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement – or ICE raids around the country have left immigrant families frightened – so frightened that in some areas people say they have stopped driving, stopped shopping, stopped sending remittances to their countries of origin. They may even be forgoing medical care.

To be clear, some of this is rumor-based.  But there is evidence of stepped-up enforcement.  The New York Times reports that ICE officers waited outside a church shelter where undocumented people had gone to keep warm.  That was in Virginia.  At Kennedy Airport in New York, people arriving from San Francisco  were required to show their documents before they were allowed to get off the plane.  Similar reports of increased raids on potentially undocumented people have come from states around the country, including Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and North Carolina. 

There also reports of School Superintendents and local officials around the country holding forums to allay some of the fears in California and New York where there are higher immigrant populations.  


Kate Nooner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina – Wilmington; Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in child and adolescent mental health trauma

Lisa Morris, Director of Student Support Services for New Hanover County Public Schools

Ira Mehlman, Media Director for Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Matt Ellinwood, Director of North Carolina Justice Center's Education and Law Project

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.