"Se puede? Si se puede! Se puede? Si se puede!"
Standing united with city and community leaders at city hall, Coachella residents shouted the slogan of worker right’s icon Cesar Chavez in defiance of President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. Fear has been festering in the undocumented immigrant community.
Coachella student and volunteer Luz Claricza says the future for families like hers is uncertain, "I’ve got to be honest, I’m scared … he’s just trying to make us scared and it’s got on to me already because like my family is an immigrant family, my grandfather traveled here from Nuevo Leon, so for him trying to make a difference in our family just to have it taken away from us, that’s really scary."
Civil right’s attorney, Megan Beaman Jacinto, who spoke at the rally says she knows many who are so scared they won’t leave their homes or travel long distances. She says that’s why many didn’t attend the rally. She says the fear is not knowing how the policy will affect Coachella’s undocumented population, "It’s hard to say how orders like these will play out and I’m sure that there will be legal challenges … But once they’re finalized and once they start executing … to the extent that there are more immigration raids or more immigration involvement in this community it could be very devastating to this community very difficult."
While the city’s mayor, Steven Hernandez has made it clear the city will protect their undocumented immigrants who play a vital role in the city’s farm and service industries, those affected can’t help feeling afraid.
"As an immigrant and a DREAMer me and my family are very scared," says Samantha Yanez, who volunteers for TODEC, a grass roots legal aid center that helps migrants.
DREAMers are students who came to the U.S. as children and were exempt from deportation under the last administration, now, they feel especially vulnerable.
"I’ve been here since I was six and that was like almost 16 years ago and this is the only country I’ve known," says Yanez adding that she and her family are law abiding citizens who are working hard to earn the American dream. She says families like hers are what America was built on.
Still, undocumented immigrants and their supporters remain hopeful.
"We’re going to fight for our rights and we’re going to make sure that everyday is a new day for immigrant rights in California," says Jacinto.