PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — President Donald Trump is pressing ahead with his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, and it has some local immigrant communities on edge.
The president signed an executive order to withhold federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities.
“Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” Trump said.
President Trump’s tough talk on illegal immigration begins with plans for building the infamous wall — but he also wants to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities and counties who decline to have their police enforce immigrant laws.
“We are going to get the bad ones out,” Trump said. “The criminals and the drug dealers.”
While Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are in something of a gray area in terms of being defined as sanctuaries, the immigrant community in the city neighborhoods of Beechview and Brookline are on edge. People like Carlos Martinez of Las Palmas grocery.
“The people feel scared about the president,” he said.
“Among those of us who work with the Latino population, this is traumatic news. There’s a tremendous amount of fear,” Sister Janice Vanderneck said.
Vanderneck is director of Casa San Jose in Brookline, a social service organization that helps Latino immigrants in finding housing and employment as well offering immigration counseling.
She says deportation from federal agents is on everyone’s mind.
“That they will come to their door, that they will come to their places of work and take them,” she said, “and then the families will be split up.”
The building of the wall and many other of the president’s proposals be subject to congressional approval and will be the subject of much debate. In the meantime, those days will be marked by fear and uncertainty among immigrant communities.
Mayor Bill Peduto also responded to the president’s executive order, saying in part, “We will resist, with all powers at our disposal, any attempt to commandeer our local law enforcement officers into a national deportation army. Pittsburgh is, has been, and always will be a welcoming city and a diverse city. It’s in our nature.”