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Undocumented Immigrants And Their Families Fear Trump Presidency

Selene Torres-Medrano is a student at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
Anna King
Northwest News Network
Selene Torres-Medrano is a student at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Wednesday many people who were “with” Hillary Clinton are talking in hushed conversations over cube walls and giving each other hugs. Some had trouble keeping their focus, like one college senior in Richland, Washington. The 23-year-old is a U.S. citizen, born in eastern Oregon. But says she grew up in fear of her mother being deported because she is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

“My name is My name is Selene Torres-Medrano, and I am a student here at WSU Tri-Cities. I also work in the financial aid office. It’s just hard. It’s impossible to move on and to not be upset about this. It’s about putting down the minorities in this country. It’s women and gays and undocumented people, Muslims. It is personal. It’s who they are. It’s who we are.

My friends who are teachers who have a lot of Hispanic students are just...lost. They don’t know what to tell their kids, because they’re showing up and they’re scared. And the fear is just so overwhelming. They’re trying to reassure them but they know that it’s bigger than them.

Two of my friends just got accepted into nursing school, and they’re both undocumented. I know that the unknown is real for them. What’s going to happen? Are they going to be able to finish their education? When they finish their education, what’s after that?

I’m very lucky to be documented but it still pains me. Like I said, all those memories, growing up being in constant fear, I feel it. I feel it with everybody. It’s just this silent and mutual understanding that we’re here for each other and that we’re scared.

All these families, they had to get up and go to work and send their kids off to school. I know they’re wondering, “Are my kids being accepted where they are right now? Are they safe from prejudice and from stares and opinions and hate?” But they have to. You know? That’s us. As a people we were taught to wake up, you go to work, you give it your all, and you come home, and you take care of family and just do it all over again.

I can’t focus. And I think that’s why it was so hard to show up to work because I’m expected to just shrug it off and be OK with it. The way people say it, it just kind of sounds like, ‘your favorite sports team lost, you know? It’s not OK to bring that to work.’ And it’s not like that for me.

It’s reality. It’s every memory of being mistreated because of my skin. It’s hard to just shake it off and study for the quiz that I have today and do my job. It’s really hard.”

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.