Norma Flores is staying off the roads and keeping up with the news of the Trump administration’s latest moves on immigration enforcement. An immigrant living in the Atlanta area without legal status, Flores is moving deeper into the shadows as she cares for the three U.S.-born children of her older sister, who was recently deported to Mexico.
Flores’ fears reflect the deepening anxiety among immigrants across the Atlanta area amid President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Immigrants like Flores are accustomed to staying on guard. They instruct their children to not talk about their parents’ legal status. They scan social media to keep up with the whereabouts of police. They stay in constant contact by phone, ensuring their loved ones make it to their jobs or back home.
But now they are going deeper into hiding, and some are taking more serious precautions, according to local police, immigration attorneys and foreign consul generals. They are remaining close to home like Flores and rushing to obtain dual citizenship for their children in case they are deported. They are also flooding the phone lines of foreign consulates in Atlanta and streaming into local immigration law offices.
At the same time, police have noticed an alarming drop in 911 calls from an area heavily populated with immigrants and are hearing reports of parents keeping their kids home from school. Other immigrants are said to be selling off their cars and homes and preparing to return to their native countries.
“Ever since my sister was detained, her children have suffered a lot,” Flores said. “They cry and ask about her. I hope that the government can provide her with an opportunity to be with her children again.”