(KMSP) - Minnesota’s immigrant community is experiencing tremendous anxiety following the election of Donald Trump. The stress is particularly acute for young immigrants temporarily protected from deportation by executive action taken by President Obama.
Stefany Frias, a senior at Augsburg College, is one of those Minnesotans; Stefany received a renewable two-year exemption from deportation when President Obama signed DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in 2012.
“It was an emotional day. I cried. It was like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It was like finally, I’m not going to be in the shadows anymore,” Stefany told Fox 9.
But the election of Trump, who promised to eliminate DACA, has Stefany concerned. Because DACA was executive action, Trump could theoretically eliminate it with the stroke of his pen.
“I’ve seen the sad faces, and everyone looking down, feeling deflated. But at the same time we have to control our emotions, we have to think positive,” Stefany said.
David Wilson, an immigration attorney at the Wilson Law Group, is urging patience to concerned immigrants. Wilson tells clients “all change is slow.”
The anxiety set in the moment it appeared Trump would be elected president.
“My phone started ringing at four o’clock in the morning the day after the election,” Wilson said. “And filling my voicemail with people saying, ‘What does this mean, what does this mean?’ And the reality is none of us know.”
Wilson believes workers and students in the United States on temporary programs may be the most vulnerable because change to their statuses is likely the easiest to make. However, Wilson is hopeful Trump takes less extreme measures than campaign rhetoric suggested.
“Not knowing is often the biggest problem people have, the uncertainty,” Wilson told Fox 9.
As for Stefany, she said she remains focused on her senior year of college, and completing her communications and psychology studies. In the meantime, she wants Minnesotans to understand her desire to contribute to, and continue to live in, the United States.
“I just want people to understand us, we’re a family, we are students, we are people that want to do something for this country,” Stefany said, “we’re here to help, to contribute.”