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Undocumented Immigrants Face Uncertain Future After Trump Win


One group especially on edge following Donald Trump's victory - immigrants in the U.S. illegally and the people who love them. During his campaign, Trump promised mass deportations. Today many families are grappling with what their future may look like under a Trump presidency. NPR's Adrian Florido reports.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: As results came in Tuesday night and a Trump victory seemed likely, a group of undocumented activists marched to the White House to declare that despite everything Trump has promised, they are not afraid.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Undocumented, here to stay. Undocumented, here to stay.

FLORIDO: But in immigrant homes across the country, conversations sounded different last night.

LAURA MARQUEZ: It's just going to add so much more fear for my family.

FLORIDO: Laura Marquez is 24, lives in San Diego. She was born in the U.S., but her dad is undocumented. He was deported to Mexico once but came back. After Trump's victory Tuesday, Marquez called her parents.

MARQUEZ: My mom's really positive. She doesn't think he can deport all of us because there's not enough money. And my dad's just quiet, but his voice cracked a lot. But my dad's pretty typical macho, so he was trying to hide it. I just heard, like, sadness and fear. He couldn't believe it either.

FLORIDO: Pablo Colindres is also 24 and works in Nebraska. He is undocumented, as is his family.

PABLO COLINDRES: I was telling them, you know, well, I'm pretty sure that he will, you know, carry on with this promise and deport us all.

FLORIDO: Colindres is able to work legally because of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Obama created in 2012. It's given work permits to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and temporarily shielded them from deportation. But Obama implemented DACA by executive order, and Donald Trump has promised to end it. So Colindres says...

COLINDRES: I've already looked into some shipping crates for all my books so I can send them back to my grandmother's house in Guatemala where I'm from.

FLORIDO: Colindres is hoping that Trump won't make good on his deportation promise. But the possibility he will is sinking in for a lot of young immigrants on DACA. When President Obama announced DACA, many thought twice about applying because it meant the government would then know who they were. Thirty-two-year-old Erick Huerta, who came to the U.S. when he was only 7, had those fears when he applied for DACA.

ERICK HUERTA: I knew eventually that in the world of possibilities if something like this were to happen, that I was in that basket. So while there is that sense of fear, it's also kind of just like, OK, you know, this is the kind of stuff we've thought about and prepared ourselves for.

FLORIDO: He, too, hopes Trump will reconsider his deportation plan. And like many immigrants here illegally, he says he will fight to stay in this country. But Huerta also sent a message to the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles. He asked if it could offer any tips on how to start a new life in Mexico just in case. Adrian Florido, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Adrian Florido
Adrian Florido is a national correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America.