Undocumented Seattle immigrants: 'We'll continue to fight' | KUOW News and Information

Undocumented Seattle immigrants: 'We'll continue to fight'

Nov 10, 2016

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump called for tougher immigration policies. The stakes are high for unauthorized immigrants in the Northwest. 


TRANSCRIPT

Late on election night, University of Washington graduate Alejandra Perez got a call from a friend.

“He told me, ‘Oh, it looks like Trump’s going to win,’” Perez said. “He said we’re going to get deported. That’s literally what he said.”

Perez came here at age 12. She currently benefits from a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It gives temporary work permits to people like Perez, who came to the U.S. as children without legal status. It also protects them from deportation.

Perez said the program has helped her finish college, get a job with benefits and help her parents save money for a house.

More than 25,000 young people in Washington state qualify for DACA.

President-elect Trump said he plans to end the program.

Perez said it’ll take time to heal from this election. Right now, one thing that's helping is a flood of calls, texts and Facebook messages. 

“From undocumented folks who are saying, ‘We’re 11 million and we’re going to continue to fight,’” Perez said. “And then there’s those who are allies to us who are saying, ‘We’re here for you. Don’t be hesitant to ask for support.’”

“A lot of people are upset and angry and I think we can use that emotion and that feeling to make real change.”

Perez’s mom, Evelyn Guzman, is a nanny. We met her at a kid’s music class in North Seattle.

Guzman said on election night she hugged her daughter, wiped away the tears and said, "Let’s not take such a dark view."

You’ve got a college education, Guzman told her daughter. Even if you have to leave America, she said, you’ll be OK.

For years, Perez has spoken out as an undocumented immigrant. That might get riskier, but she has no intention to stop.

“I’m still pretty unafraid," she said.