Reportage. Raids and arrests have been sowing panic in Los Angeles, as in other in immigrant communities integral to the region’s social and economic makeup.

Avelica Gonzalez case emblematic of Trump war on immigrants

Of all facets of Donald Trump’s political program, none is so indicative of a radical agenda as the “whitening” of America. Trump’s classic populist playbook is based on whipping up popular animosity towards a manufactured enemy.

The incendiary anti-immigrant rhetoric integral to his campaign has normalized xenophobia to levels rarely seen in the nation’s political discourse – and revived the not-so-dormant strains of intolerance always lurking beneath the surface of the American story. Never before however has supremacism had such brazen mouthpieces so close to the heart of most powerful government in the world.

The country’s radical veering towards ethnic nationalism represents a radical departure, leading it into uncharted territory which promises dire consequences for the largest multicultural society on the planet, Cloaked behind an impassioned profession of necessary legality, is a radical blueprint for social eugenics openly espoused by the Alt-right inspired ideologues who currently influence American policy. Only months ago the extremist proclamations they blithely utter would have been dismissed as fringe rantings, today they inform what is effectively a policy of ethnic cleansing pandering to Trump’s heartland base.

Even following the Obama administration’s record number of deportations, the turnaround has been startling. The shift to “zero tolerance” has an especially devastating potential in minority-majority, bilingual and bi-cultural cities like Los Angeles (where estimates of undocumented residents run as high as 2 million people).

Raids and arrests by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents have been sowing panic here, as in other in immigrant communities integral to the region’s social and economic makeup. Arrests and summary deportations have separated families, often composed of “legal” and “illegal” members and had the effect of a state sponsored campaign of psychological terror, affecting children especially hard.

A good example is what happened to Romulo Avelica Gonzalez, an undocumented resident of the historic latino district of Highland Park for over 20 years. Like hundreds of thousands of others, the father of five U.S.-born children had worked and raised a family in this city. But on February 28 he was detained by ICE agents while dropping the two younger girls off at school in Los Angeles, as his sobbing 13-year old filmed the scene which went viral on the internet.

Avelica Gonzalez is currently being held at the high desert Adelanto Detention Center awaiting deportation. His case has become a symbol of thousands of similar stories and a catalyst for protests. We followed his daughters Jocelyn, Fatima, Ylenia and Brenda Avelica, as they called for their father’s release outside ICE headquarters in LA.

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