All week, WCCO Radio is tackling the topic of immigration with a series of stories from Minnesota. WCCO’s Edgar Linares sat down with members of the Twin Cities immigrant community, who shared their thoughts and, in many cases, fears in the first part of “An Undocumented Future: Minnesota in a New Age of Immigration.”
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Natalia Marchan is a dreamer. She originally came to the U.S. on a visa, and went to high school in Northfield. After graduating, she found out she couldn’t work; her visa had expired.
She said in 2012, President Obama passed a measure allowing her to stay in the United States and even get a job.
She’s still undocumented, but she’s a student Mankato State University.
She explained how many in the immigrant community are reacting to President Donald Trump’s earlier executive orders and ICE raids.
“I think this is definitely taking a toll on my mental health,” she said.
Arrests of immigrants suspected to be in the U.S. illegally have soared in the early months of the Trump administration.
The number of arrests rose nearly 40 percent between Jan. 22 and April 29, compared to this time last year. Approximately 41,300 were arrested for deportation. Nearly 11,000 had no criminal convictions.
The unrest is not only being felt by undocumented Latino immigrants but those who speak Somali as well.
“There’s a tremendous level of fear. People think they will rounded up and shipped somewhere,” Omar Jamal, a Somali American advocate, said.
Some have decided to pack up and head to the border — the northern border in Canada — to seek asylum, Jamal said.
A group men from Minneapolis spoke with CNN after crossing into Canada in the dead of winter.
“I cannot believe I am alive. I was almost sent to prison. It was very difficult,” one said.
In January, Razak Iyal and Seidu Mohammed, refugees from Ghana, made headlines after crossing into Canada and losing almost all their fingers to frostbite. They told CNN after seeing Trump’s executive orders they felt like they had no other choice.
“We feel like we are home and the Canadian people have opened their homes for us,” one said.