The immigrant community has been living in fear after changes in the recent administration’s posture toward border security, according to a panel from Immigrant Realities on Wednesday, March 20.
One of the panelists was Franca Jalloh, Department of Justice accredited immigration representative in Greensboro and former chair of the Greensboro International Advisory Committee. She immigrated to the United States herself and is a legal citizen now.
“I went through a long battle to get where I am today,” Jalloh said.
Today, Jalloh said she has seen an influx of people seeking legal assistance in her office.
“There is no more waiting. They are in a panic,” Jalloh said about the immigrant community.
She inspired the group of students and community members with moving testimonies about her clients.
“Clients are afraid of going to work, going to church, because of what could possibly happen to them,” Jalloh said.
Ted Morée, video producer at Elon with Teaching and Learning Technology, is an active member of DownHomeNC, a local activist group in the county, and is a “verifier” for the immigrants rights organization SiembraNC. As a verifier, Morée participates in a community watch, where he searches for unmarked cars with tinted windows around the county. These could be Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency cars, according to Siembra’s verification training, and Morée’s job is to then warn members of the immigrant community of ICE activity in the area.
Morée was recently featured in a viral Facebook video from media corporation “NowThisPolitics."
Senior Amy Belfer, an intern in Jalloh’s office and a leader in Immigrant Realities, was also on the panel. She spoke from personal experience working with immigrant communities in Greensboro, Alamance County and Arizona.
“There are so many immigrants that can’t afford services to get their legal certificate or come to the United States to escape poverty,” Belfer said. “And poverty isn’t one of the five categories that will get you political asylum.”
During the open forum, Anne Cassebaum, founder of the immigrant rights organization Fairness Alamance, asked the panelists in what ways the county could respond.
“Contact your elected officials. Call and tell them your thoughts about this,” Jalloh said. “They are here for you.”