“Pa’Delante” is a saying often used in Latino communities, in English translation it’s commonly translated to mean “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward.” This type of resilience was a prevailing theme among speakers at a panel hosted Tuesday evening discussing immigration, specifically for the Latino community and in relation to recent immigration policies set by President Donald Trump.

Nearly 50 students, faculty and community members gathered to hear from five panelists with experiences including working with and assisting immigrants, providing employment with seasonal and migrant workers and studying healthy equity within immigrant communities.

Panelist Rudy Flores, co-chair of the Migrant Resource Council of Southeast Michigan, explained that in the past 48 hours in his town of Adrian, there have been three different ICE raids. In which raids, three people were detained.

“These are situations that we anticipated but didn’t expect,” he said. “But it’s here and this is something that we’re dealing with.”

Recent raids have also occurred in Ypsilanti and Detroit.

Nicole Novak, University of Michigan postdoctoral fellow in the Population Studies Center, explained the similarities between current raids and a 2008 raid that occurred in Postville, Iowa, which was at the time the largest raid to occur in U.S. history.

“That immigration raid (was) almost like an ethnic, city-specific or community-specific terrorist attack, because it had a lot of effects that we’re maybe seeing today,” she said. “People were trying to prepare for what might happen next.”

For many immigrants currently residing in the United States, the fear of being undocumented or of lacking citizenship status had never been as severe as it is now under the current administration. Because of this, many have taken measures to avoid being publicized by having their benefits canceled or by continuing to live without forms of identification.

University alum Maria Ibarra-Frayre works for the Washtenaw County ID program where she helps serve those who do not have access to a form of state identification. Primarily, these services provide IDs to those who are undocumented, do not have a permanent address or do not have birth certificates. Recently, however, the fears of becoming identified have stopped many who would previously have tried to obtain this form of identification.

“People both are afraid to not have an identification and are afraid to get the ID because they’re afraid that this will put them in the database,” she said.

Panelists also spoke of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a two-year renewable permission enacted under President Barack Obama in June 2012 for those who were between the ages of 15 and 31. The permanence of the act remains in question given the Trump administration’s stance on immigration. Panelists highlighted its importance in recent years, specifically when promoting a sense of togetherness with recent waves of immigration.

“Part of me wants to believe that the reason (Trump) has not rescinded DACA is because the Trump administration is afraid of people who have DACA,” she said. “It’s been such a huge movement of undocumented youth who have gotten up and really claimed their status in the U.S. and were able to speak out against everything that had been happening with immigration,” Ibarra-Frayre said.

Panelists explained these youth, however, are currently facing even greater fears in regard to their families and the questions as to whether new policies will end up moving them to different locations or separating them from their loved ones.

“They’re not sleeping at night, they’re not showing up to school, they’re just deathly afraid that their parents are going to be taken away from them,” Flores said. “The greatest impact is the uncertainty of how this is all going to unfold and the damage path that’s going to be as a result of it.”

Panelists concluded by urging audience members to become involved in their communities, to take part in local nonprofits and to network with others passionate about advocacy and awareness.

LSA junior Donny Hearn III, who attended the panel, said he has found these types of events to be especially important for students when it comes to engaging in movements they learn about and start to feel strongly about.

“Especially in a university it’s important to take what you learn in the classroom and recognize that it’s a real-life issue,” he said. “By reading actual faces and actual people you can connect things you hear on the news and so forth with academia and I think actually make some sort of push to change reality.”

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