President Donald Trump’s delayed threat to sweep undocumented families from 10 major cities is causing some Coastsiders to fear for their safety. Worse, they say, is the prospect of tearing apart families.

Last month, Trump tweeted that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

Some observers doubted whether such an expansive operation was even possible given federal resources. And Trump’s threat followed published reports that ICE Acting Director Mark Morgan planned to focus his agency’s efforts on deporting a much smaller number of immigrant families that already had federal deportation orders.

Then, on June 22, Trump said that the raids — being planned for large cities across the country — would be delayed by two weeks to allow time for a congressional solution to an immigration crisis on the country’s southern border.

The on again, off again nature of the threat has done nothing to alleviate tensions among the nation’s immigrant community. Those fears may be heightened by developments in border communities, where families have already been separated and migrants have died while trying to reach the United States and apply for asylum.

Here on the coast, many local residents say they fear federal agents who could come at any time and uproot them from their homes.

“Un poco preocupada. Uno no sabe,” said one South Coast woman in her native Spanish. “I’m a bit worried. One never knows.” She and others agreed to speak about their concerns on condition of anonymity.

“It’s always a worry going really just anywhere — to the gas station, to go washing,” she said. “I’m always expecting I’m going to be pulled over by (ICE) while with my family. You are always expecting the worst.”

A Pescadero man, also asking for anonymity, said fear of ICE raids is traumatic. “The mention of ICE causes panic in the people. Children born here are worried for their parents.

“Personally, I’m nervous,” he said. “I’m a Dreamer, but I’m still scared. My siblings were born here, but my mother and father were not. It’s a scary situation.” 

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