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Immigrants gripped by deportation fears

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Thousands of high school and college students march to Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus to protest the presidential election of Donald Trump on Nov 9, in Berkeley, California. (AP)
Thousands of high school and college students march to Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus to protest the presidential election of Donald Trump on Nov 9, in Berkeley, California. (AP)

PHOENIX, Nov 11, (AP): President- elect Donald Trump launched his candidacy on an anti-immigrant sentiment and has vowed to repeal a key Obama administration program that shields hundreds of thousands of people from deportation. Now, many immigrants in the country illegally, or with relatives who are, fear deportation and separation from their families.

In immigrant-heavy areas like Los Angeles and Phoenix, activists are scrambling to provide informational meetings for immigrants to help them protect themselves from deportation. Others want legal immigrants to apply for citizenship so they can eventually obtain legal status for relatives. “The more we can naturalize people and stabilize our families and root our communities the better,” said Julio Perez, executive director of California’s Orange County Labor Federation, which is sponsoring naturalization events in response to the election.

Here are stories from some immigrants who fear what a Trump presidency could bring. Thirty-two-yearold Karina Ruiz is one of 741,000 immigrants benefiting from the program launched by President Barack Obama called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It allows young adults to get work permits, social security numbers and protects them from deportation.

The Phoenix mother of three says deferred action allowed her to work and graduate with a biochemistry degree from Arizona State University in 2015. She hopes to be a pharmacist one day. But Trump has promised to end DACA, and Ruiz fears she could be sent to Mexico and separated from her US-born children. “I’m not giving up DACA so easily, not going down without a fi ght,” Ruiz said. Michael Nazario, a 27-year-old community activist from Phoenix, is shielded by DACA and married to an American citizen, which should allow him to get permanent residency soon.

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