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Suffering in silence: some students have seen their parents deported

On October 16, 2019

BY VIRIDIANA CAMACHO

VN STAFF WRITER

President Trump’s immigration battles with Mexico and Latin America may seem a long ways from Detroit, but their impact is being felt personally on the McNichols campus, where several Detroit Mercy students have seen family members deported.

Edward Jurado, president of the Latinx Student Association, knows of two students with family members who were deported.

Jurado, a senior majoring in psychology, came to the United States from Mexico in 2010 to escape the drug cartel war.

He eventually landed at Detroit Mercy.

The university accepts undocumented students.

“So the prospect of losing friends and classmates” is real, said Jurado, who is not undocumented. “It’s scary.”

Jurado believes the majority of students don’t take into consideration whether or not the person sitting next to them may be undocumented.

“I think that the faculty are very accepting and welcoming,” he said.

Students vary in their feelings, though.

It is a hard thing for some to accept, he said.

Many people don’t worry about issues that don’t concern them, he added.

The student body “is primarily white,” he noted. “I feel like exposing them to new cultures and traditions (might) change misconceptions or stereotypes.”

Carlos Sanchez is a fourth-year mechanical engineering student.

Family separation is a major issue.

“Faculty are very liberal or progressive and accepting,” he said. “The student population may differ. … I’ve become desensitized to any political comments that can be personally critical.”

Some students who have seen parents deported are U.S. citizens, having been born in the states themselves.

This is a frightening time for them, as President Trump has been public about his disdain for such persons and has made appeals more difficult, organization members said.

“I think for those who have undocumented parents, they are more fearful at this time for their deportation and family separation,” said Sanchez.

People who come to the United States usually do so for a better life for themselves and their families, according to members of the Latinx Student Association.

Ana Lopez, a senior majoring in dental hygiene, is vice-president of the group.

“This organization means the world to me,” she said. “Most of us have undocumented parents or are undocumented ourselves and are afraid of what will happen to us.

“When uneducated people say rude things about how immigrants are lazy and just taking advantage of the country, I feel really hurt,” said Lopez. “I was not born in the U.S. and, yes, all my family is in Mexico. I was finally able to visit after being 18 years apart.”

This takes a toll on students.

“Although we may all seem fine and well put together during school, in our hearts and minds we are afraid,” she said. “This fear causes us to keep our heads down, to keep our mouths shut and to stay away from anyone or anything that could harm us.”

The current president has a loyal following.

Much of what he says is taken literally by people who support him, the organization’s officers believe.

Some don’t take into account how much negative influence the president has on Latinx students, they said.

“Not all people are criminals like he is saying,” said Alondra Guzman, a senior. “Being on campus, sometimes you get that negativity from other people when they know you have some Latin ancestry.”

Many Latin American students at Detroit Mercy are first-generation students who are already having a hard time managing college, whether it be classes or balancing work and school, she said.

So, for them to have additional worries on their shoulders is tough, she added.

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