Local immigration advocates: "Let's shift fear to action"

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 00:16:00-04

Nebraska was one of the 26 states that challenged President Obama's Executive Order to protect nearly four million undocumented immigrants from deportation. 

Obama's plan would have saved the parents of DREAMers and U.S. born children from deportation. The Supreme Court's 4-4 tied decision has now left local Latinos with a mix of emotions: fear, disappointment, and anger. 

"People are getting this sense of fear because this decision impacts the whole nation and people are like, 'well, we don't know what to do. I have to stay in the shadows and can't say anything now because I don't want to put my family in danger of being found and deported,'" says Lucia Pedroza, senior community organizer for the Heartland Workers Center.

Fatima Flores-Laguna says she and her family have been living in fear for years. 

When I was 6 or 7 years-old, I'd come home with the fear of not finding my parents. That was my biggest fear and it still is and I'm 25 now - and that reality still exists for millions of people," says Flores-Laguna. 

But organizers say Latinos need to shift that fear into action and use this disappointing ruling as an opportunity to do more organizing and education outreach in the Latino communities.

Carolina Quezada, Executive Director at the Latino Center of the Midlands says this fight for immigration will require the unity of the Latino community to urge politicians to take their side. 

"This is a systematic change. And this is something that is going to take legislation, political will and political leadership to address because we're talking about a lot of immigrants in this country," says Quezada.

Now advocates are urging Latinos to continue with the lucha - or fight, and shift their efforts to ensure there is a strong Latino vote in the upcoming elections. 

"If we don't vote as Latinos, even though we are one of the largest minority populations, then we're not going to be taken seriously and families will continue to get separated," says Flores-Laguna. 

The deadlock protects the original DACA recipients and those eligible for Nebraska's recent driver's license and professional license bills.