SEATTLE — President-elect Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, vowed to remove millions of undocumented immigrants from this country.
Now that he’s heading to the White House, some immigrant families in the Pacific Northwest are living in fear and worried what is next for them.
On Thursday, local groups talked about how they’re working with those families who are afraid they’ll be torn apart.
“No one wants to feel unsafe in the place they call their home,” said Monica Ng, with the Asian, Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington.
Every day Ng hears from families who live here, work here, go to school here — they are all worried about their future under a Trump presidency
“There’s a lot of folks that want to protect their families and make sure that it’s OK and safe to send their kids to school,” added Ng.
Ng’s coalition is just one of several local groups that work with families providing services and support.
On Thursday, they joined forces to try to protect the grandparents, parents and the children who have lived here for years but who fear they will be deported.
“We want to make sure folks know is that there is a community of support for immigrants, refugees and Muslims that are facing a period of significant fear,” said Rich Stolz with OneAmerica.
The groups say they will work with local and state leaders to keep current immigration rights in place, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Some undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children were granted a sort of legal status by President Obama.
During Trump’s campaign, the candidate talked about ending that policy.
State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Bellingham, the former deputy director of the Trump campaign in Washington state, sought to blame whatever disruptions there are on Obama.
“Now, unfortunately, some of those people might be harmed because of the policies Obama put in place to get them to come here,” Ericksen said. “I feel bad for a lot of the people that were enticed by President Obama to come to America illegally.”
Ericksen said Trump’s immigration policy has plenty of support in Congress.
Right now it’s not clear what Trump will be able actually accomplish, but these local immigration groups said they’re not waiting for Trump to move into the White House.
“This is not a time to be discouraged, this is a time to remember that there is a lot of work that needs to be done,” added Stolz.