Local immigrant fears for family members

by Christopher Miller

President Donald Trump’s recent executive order aggressively detaining illegal immigrants, including those who are not violent criminals, has sowed fear across the country, with many immigrants afraid of the future. Maria Galdamec, 40, of Langley Park, is one.

Galdamec emigrated to the United States 13 years ago from El Salvador and moved to Langley Park from Seattle, Wash., in June of 2016.

Though she is not yet a U.S. citizen, she is a documented immigrant, having received her green card two years ago, but she is scared for family members, many of whom are undocumented.

Galdamec lives with her two youngest sons, 6 and 12, while her two oldest sons, 26 and 22, still live in Seattle. The 26-year-old is undocumented.

She has several other family members that are undocumented including two brothers living in Virginia, a sister in Maryland and several nieces.

Galdamec doesn’t understand why Trump wants to deport so many people. “He should be supportive of people instead of deporting them,” she said. “Many of these people have done nothing at all and are hard workers.

“He thinks that we’re all bad and we’re all gang members,” she said. “He believes that we are invading his territory.”

She specifically disagrees with the section of Trump’s executive order that would “empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer.”

“Police should do their job, not someone else’s job,” Galdamec said.

Galdamec sees a huge difference between Trump and former President Obama.

Obama focused on deporting criminals and people who were bad influences in society, she said, while Trump has left entire families without parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents.

“President Obama was so much more sensitive” when it came to the subject of who to deport, she said.

Galdamec was thinking of visiting El Salvador this summer but has decided against it. She is afraid that if she goes, the government will not let her come back and she does not want to leave her two young kids without a mother.

Galdamec is especially worried about her two nieces. The younger niece is 12 and frequently cries when she thinks about the loss of her father, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) four months ago.

The older niece is 15 and has recently seen a psychologist to help deal with the loss. The girl doesn’t trust the police anymore, and Galdamec is worried that she may take a wrong path in life.

CASA of Maryland, a Latino and immigration advocacy-and-assistance organization based in Langley Park, has helped Galdamec and her children. She said she feels very relieved having CASA’s support.