Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Midday Edition

Cross-Border Region Reacts To Trump Victory With Fear

Protestors gathered at San Diego City College, Nov. 9, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
Protestors gathered at San Diego City College, Nov. 9, 2016.
Mexican and Latino reaction to Trump
Cross-Border Region Reacts To Trump Victory With Fear
Cross-Border Region Reacts To Trump Victory With Fear GUESTS: Ev Meade, director of the TransBorder Institute at the University of San Diego Dulce Garcia, San Diego immigration lawyer

Latinos gathered to express their concerns about a new Trump administration. On the campaign trail will trumped out to eliminate President Obama's deferred action on childhood arrivals. City college student Diana Gonzales who was brought to this country at the age of 2 talked about her fears of deportation. It is sad because the education system taught us not to learn Spanish and now they want to send me back to a country. Joining me are Jose Garcia is an attorney here and San Diego. If they allow young immigrants not to be targeted for deportation, could that be changed immediately when Donald Trump takes office quick It could and with the stroke of a pen. It was an executive action and he could get rid of it. What it means to get rid of it and the how is very important. There's a question as to what he honor a promissory note from the United States government not to deport people for a period of time? Would he let those expire or would he say using his discretion and it is over and you guys are on the priority list for removal orders from the United States? That idea that this could be eliminated with the stroke of a pen in January is that the main concern you are hearing? My clients and myself so that is the main concern that I'm getting for my clients and my family as well. It won't be overnight either. We had this fear when we first applied for anyways. So in a sense we saw this coming and we are hoping that it would not be the case but now that is, it is very terrifying but we do have a little bit of hope. Is there any special program here in California that could shield you and the other recipients from that quick -- If it means deportation there's nothing in California that would help me here. Is their legal avenue that you could argue in court's that there was an essence a promise given to the recipients and that that can be just taken away? That is a very interesting argument. The promises that we would have a work permit and not be deported for the many years that the permit was given for. So we knew what we first applied that they had an expiration date and whenever we renewed it someone -- there is an expression that expiration date on it. So we did know that there was a possibility that it could. It could expire now and it could expire down on the 21st. We are yet to see that. The Mexican currency has plummeted on the election of Donald Trump. What are the economic concerns in our cross-border? They are huge. The president has said that he will rip up the agreement I don't think he will do that. I think he's indicated on many occasions that this is an opening for negotiation but this is a really important to the economy but also of the United States. People often test you'll think about this but there are 23 states and the United States that send exports to Mexico. Mexico buys more from the United States then all of European Union or all of Latin America combined. It is a key relationship in things like supply-chain. If you look at our autos are aerospace and how many times it crosses the border back and forth this is complex and something fragile and so I think there's a lot of uncertainty in the business community. I think will hear what it means to negotiate. I don't think it will mean tearing it up. I think maybe even fixing it. I think there are positive things that could happen. As you've heard him talking about this, and I've read articles about sort of very depressed reaction from people who live in Tijuana and work in San Diego. What are you hearing from your clients about this election? There is still fear. That is the main concern. We just don't know the uncertainty and what is going to happen and no one knows what will happen. Not knowing is what's killing my clients. Are people concerned that the border might actually be closed? There is a concern for that. And why is that question mark. The agreements will be undone and the border will be reinforced so the flexibility that there is right now for people to come and go and shop and move around they are afraid it's not going to be there anymore. There is a chance that Donald Trump because he had said so many tough things about immigration could actually achieve some kind of positive immigration reform. Do you believe that there's a chance at that? I think that is very difficult. I would love to believe that. That he will listen to the Chamber of Commerce and the conservatives. I have to say if you look at the Congress and the people who will have to vote this through things like getting rid of the trafficking victims protection act and things like the Muslim band they don't point in that direction. The only positive things I think we might be able to spin out and hopefully there will be a bigger conversation about this and you talk about things like infrastructure and about the wall and maybe they will take a closer look at something like the bridge that we built across the wall in San Diego and said that is good for business and good for the relationship between the two countries and let switch a conversation a little bit from the wall to the border infrastructure. I think there is a possibility. I have to say that in hearing there is some serious unease out there. I talked to immigration lawyers yesterday was clients are calling asking what to do. Some lawyers are telling people if you are eligible apply right now or renew right now. The largest network of pro bono immigration attorneys are telling their clients the opposite. No one has a good answer. I think the same thing is true. Most folks are people that have pending claims. The answer is we don't know and hopefully better angels will prevail. We been speaking with Ev Meade and Dulce Gracia and immigration attorney in Chandigarh. Thank you both.

Cross-Border Region Reacts To Trump Victory With Fear
Latinos and other minority groups held a protest, and pedestrians at the world's busiest border crossing expressed anxiety.

Many in the San Diego-Tijuana border region are reacting to Donald Trump’s presidential victory with fear and uncertainty.

Trump has vowed to deport millions of people and make it harder to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Those plans will have an impact here, the world’s busiest border crossing.

Tens of thousands of people cross the border through San Ysidro every day. Tijuana resident Isabel Mendoza, 40, frequently goes shopping in San Diego on a tourist visa.


On Tuesday night, she was glued to her television watching the election results. “I hardly slept, I just kept praying, 'Dear God, please don’t let this happen,'" she said, weeping as she spoke.

Across Tijuana, people were watching the U.S. presidential election with as much fear as Mendoza. They expressed anxieties on Twitter, and held watch parties across the city.

One of their main worries was Trump's talk of repealing or weakening NAFTA or the North American Free Trade Agreement, a move that could hurt cross-border trade. The Mexican peso plummeted to new record lows as the election unfolded.

Mendoza said she fears the peso is going to drop further.

"Gas, eggs, everything that we consume is going to get more costly," Mendoza said.


She also thinks Trump will make it harder for people to cross the border when he’s president.

“The border wait is going to increase, with agents asking more questions," she said. "There will be more obstacles for us to enter the U.S."

Another regular border crosser, 31-year-old Tijuana resident Joaquin Siqueiros, said Trump's presidency did not bode well for Mexicans' purchasing power in the U.S.

"We purchase here, we contribute to the U.S. economy, and we're kind of worried we are not going to be able to purchase as much as we used to," Siqueiros said.

He said some Tijuana currency exchanges have placed a $500 limit on their dollar sales per person.

"There's some kind of panic right now because they don't know how much the currency is going to fall," he said.

Latinos and other minorities who live in San Diego are also worried. They held a rally Wednesday at San Diego City College, saying Trump has fueled hatred against people of color and women. More than 100 people showed up.

One 17-year-old Mexican student, Sandra Guzmán, broke into sobs as she said asked the crowd how the country could have elected a man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.

One girl breaks into tears at Trump protest, Nov. 9, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
One girl breaks into tears at Trump protest, Nov. 9, 2016.

Some Mexicans in the crowd said they fear their parents will be deported. Others, like Diana Gonzalez, 23, said they feared they themselves would be kicked out of the country.

Like thousands of other young people in San Diego, Gonzalez is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Obama enacted through executive action. Trump has vowed to revoke it.

DACA allowed Gonzalez to enroll in college this year. She’s studying English, with a concentration in history. Now, she could be facing deportation.

“It’s sad," she said. "The educational system taught us not to speak Spanish, and now they want to send me back to a country I don’t know anything about?”

Gonzalez was brought here when she was two years old. She said she doesn't even know the name of the Mexican president. But she does know Trump's. She said his victory shocked her, and that she thinks it's indicative of widespread hostility toward immigrants like her. She said she fears for her safety now.

“I feel that I can get hurt if I say the wrong thing in front of the wrong people," Gonzalez said.

Young black men at the rally said they felt the same way. Mohamed Musse, a 19-year-old student at San Diego City College, said he's spent his adolescence worried that police would shoot him, and thinks the risk will increase under Trump's administration.

“People are gonna think they can do anything because it’s Donald Trump, you know what I mean? And that’s scary. Especially being an African American male," Musse said.