CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Over the last few weeks, rumors have been circulated around Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro that local law enforcement are assisting Immigration Custom Enforcement agents with deportations.
In a room full of hundreds of community members, police chiefs from Carrboro and Chapel Hill said they are not helping federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in any capacity.
Community members say since President Donald Trump took office the fear of deportation is intensifying.
“They’ve been very cautious going out at night, they just feel scared,” said Perla Sierra.
Sierra, a Chapel Hill High School senior, sat outside working on her U.S. history homework while her parents listened to the town hall.
Next year, she leaves for college. She says recently that leaving has been weighing heavily on her mind.
“My main concern would be my parents and what would happen to them when I leave,” she said.
Dozens have the same concerns.
“The fear of my parents being incarcerated is the biggest fear I have,” said Marco Cervantes.
Cervantes has spent most of his life in U.S., but still every day there’s a possibility his parents will be taken away.
“I want to prepare myself for the worst, but still hope for the best. But that hope will mean nothing if there is no action behind it,” he said.
Organizers say whether it’s happening in the Triangle or not, the fear of deportation is very real for the community
“They know about cases of relatives, neighbors that are being arrested in the last few weeks. So, yes, there are some situations that are changing the environment and people are worried about that,” said Franco Duque with El Centro.
In addition to police officers, other people including attorneys, social service workers, and local government leaders were on hand to answer the community’s questions.