Suburban Hispanics on edge about a Trump presidency

Campaign promises by President-elect Donald Trump to deport Mexican immigrants without legal status are causing frayed nerves among some Hispanic people living in the suburbs who worried Wednesday that he will make good on his rhetoric.

"There are a lot of concerns about how this will play out. Is something going to happen immediately or is he going to change his mind?" asked the Rev. Gerson Moreno, pastor at Christian Pentecostal Center, a Hispanic church in Schaumburg.

Republican Trump won his bid Tuesday against Hillary Clinton, although Illinois went blue for the Democrat.

Trump first advocated removing all immigrants here illegally with a deportation force, then suggested there could be a "softening" for law-abiding ones. Later, Trump said all immigrants here illegally must leave and apply to re-enter.

Trump has vowed to build an "impenetrable physical" wall on the southern border and require Mexico to pay for it. His remark that Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers to the U.S. drew fierce criticism.

"It was an affront to us all, particularly the Mexican community in DuPage," said Cristóbal Cavazos, coordinator of the Immigrant Solidarity DuPage group. "There's been a lot of fear and uncertainty hearing that Trump was winning. We really see this as a crisis situation."

One major concern for immigrant advocates involves deportations of young people after Trump's threat to nix President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that gives legal status to people brought into the U.S. as minors.

"What is going to happen to all of these young people whose life has been turned around?" asked Jaime Garcia, executive director of Elgin-based Centro de Informacion. "They had hope in the future, but if this is taken away from them, they will just go back to living underground."

Centro de Informacion has helped hundreds of young people register for Obama's program, Garcia said. Morena hopes Trump will realize the economic benefits immigrant workers provide from being an essential part of the labor force to paying taxes and buying goods.

Cavazos said Trump's election has galvanized Hispanics in the suburbs. "We see Trump as a mountain we have to move. We're not going to stop organizing and we're not going to stop calling him out."

Elgin City Councilwoman Rose Martinez, who is of Mexican descent, says she fears the impact Trump's comments about Latinos will have on her nephews, nieces and godchildren who were born and raised here.

"This is very hard for them," she said. "Our country is very diverse and welcoming. He is like the total opposite of that. ... Being divisive like that he brings out more hatred."

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Rose Martinez
  Some parishioners at Christian Pentecostal Center in Schaumburg worry that President-elect Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric will mean ramped-up deportations. Mark Black/, March 2016
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