Amid Trump's tightening immigration policy, some legal immigrants still worry
OAKLAND (KTVU) -- President Donald Trump's deportation policies are stirring fears among some residents in the U.S. who have legally immigrated to the county.
California is home to more immigrants than any other state, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. And about 75 percent of them are either naturalized citizens or have another form of other legal status, but even then, some are concerned about their future.
Gilberto Bamaca, a 14-year-old, Oakland resident said he was fearful of his parents’ legal status changing. Gilberto is a U.S. citizen because he was born and raised in the city of Oakland. His parents are from Guatemala and live in Oakland as legal permanent residents.
Gilberto’s mother, Josefina, worked with attorney Linda Tam at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley several years ago to obtain a U-Visa and ultimately a Green Card. But Josefina recently had to calm her son’s fears about being separated.
Bamaca said kids at his school began talking about deportations after President Trump took office.
“They got really sad like, ‘What should we do? What’s going to happen to our parents?’” Bamaca said.
Josefina had to remind her son that she is a legal resident.
Tam said other legal immigrants have similar fears with many of them worried about the impact of Trump’s policies.
"This has really affected everyone, not just people who are undocumented, but green card holders and citizens,” Tam said.
Tam has fielded calls from U.S. born citizens who have dual citizenship with countries included in the so-called Muslim ban concerned about traveling abroad.
"I even received calls from naturalized U.S. citizens who were concerned about their immigration status,” she said.
Despite the fear, Trump has made it clear that immigration officers are targeted undocumented immigrants.
James Schwab, Public Affairs Officer and Spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Francisco released the following statement to KTVU: "ICE has no interest in arresting or detaining a law-abiding person who is in the country legally.”
That provides some relief for Bamaca.
“For me, if like my parents would not be here, I wouldn’t know what to do,” the teen said.
Second in a series of three reports by KTVU reporter Cristina Rendon about how the Trump administration's immigration policy is affecting the Bay Area and beyond.