Families separated at border, raising fears among undocumented families in Kern County
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - The separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border hits close to home in Kern County, where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations are a daily fear for undocumented people who came here from other countries.
According to the United Farm Workers Foundation, calls come in every day from Kern County individuals concerned for family members who have been detained by ICE.
The images now public, of families separated at the border, gives rise to more fears among undocumented families in Kern County.
"Once people are starting to see these trends at the border, then I think it almost makes them feel that they are also not free from that type of enforcement even here locally," Ambar Tovar, programs director for the UFW Foundation said. "It makes them fear if this is happening there, this could happen to us here," Tovar added.
The UFW foundation is building a criminal defense program to protect immigrant families, and is educating them to know their rights and prepare for the worst.
"Create some sort of family preparation plan," Tovar recommends. "Who is going to pick up kids from school if mom and dad are taken away? Where are children going to live if mom and dad are taken away?"
Representative David Valadao issued a statement calling the border separations "unacceptable" and urging that a compromise solution from Congress is "absolutely necessary."
Congress is set to vote on an immigration reform policy this week, but the bill itself is getting mixed reactions.
The 293 page plan includes a policy allowing families to stay together at the border, and gives a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. It also includes much of president Trump's policy preferences for funding a borer wall and ending the Visa lottery for asylum seekers.