UNDOCUMENTED IN NEW YORK

As the situation on our Southern border remains tense, we look at some of the nearly 1.2 million undocumented New Yorkers seeking asylum in the Empire State.

Aired November 26, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> NEW YORK CITY IS HOME TO 3.1 MILLION IMMIGRANTS, THE LARGEST NUMBER IN THE CITY'S HISTORY.

ABOUT HALF A MILLION OF THOSE IMMIGRANTS ARE UNDOCUMENTED, AND WHILE SOME ARE RECENT ARRIVALS M HAVE BEEN LIVING AND WORKING HERE FOR DECADES.

STILL, FOR ALL THE UNDOCUMENTED, THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN MARKED BY BEING DETAINED OR DEPORTED.

SINCE PRESIDENT TRUMP CAME TO OFFICE, 20,000 UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE HAD DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS FILED AGAINST THEM.

ENTERING THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY, I.C.E.

ARRESTS JUMPED BY 67%, AND ARRESTS WITH NO CRIMINAL CONVICTION INCREASED BY 225%. 'CITY OF FEAR' SEEKS TO SHOW HOW TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN HAS PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED THE LIVES OF NEW YORK'S UNDOCUMENTED POPULATION.

THE ARTICLE TELLS THE REAL LIFE STORIES OF PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN UP-ENDED BY DETENTION AND DEPORTATION AND DESCRIBES THE FEAR THAT MANY IMDPRAMTD MI LIVE WITH DAILY.

AND IT DOCUMENTS THE STEPS IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

JOINING ME NOW IS THE FEATURE'S EDITOR OF THE MARSHALL PROJECT, GERALDINE SEALEY, WHO EDITED THE PIECE.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

SO GERALDINE, FIRST OF ALL, I WONDER IF YOU COULD QUICKLY TELL US WHAT THE MARSHALL PROJECT IS, AND HOW IMMIGRATION FITS INTO ITS MISSION.

CERTAINLY.

THE MARSHALL PROJECT IS A NONPROFIT NEWS AGENCY THAT COVERS CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

WE COLLABORATE WITH MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY, MORE THAN A HUNDRED SO FAR, INCLUDING THAT PACKAGE WITH 'NEW YORK' MAGAZINE.

IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO, WE EXPANDED OUR COVERAGE TO INCLUDE IMMIGRATION.

IT'S NOT ONLY KIND OF A PARALLEL JUSTICE SYSTEM, BUT IT HAS ALL KINDS OF INTERSECTIONS WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO DOCUMENT IN THIS PROJECT AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

WHEN WE STARTED THINKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT IN JANUARY, VERY PROMINENT ACTIVISTS, IMMIGRATION ACTIVISTS HAD BEEN DETAINED, INCLUDING JOHN MONTROVILLE, WHO WAS EVENTUALLY DEPORTED.

THEY ALSO CONDUCTED RAIDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING MORE THAN A DOZEN IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE STARTED ASKING OURSELVES WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE FOR PEOPLE IN NEW YORK, AND IT'S A SO-CALLED SANCTUARY CITIES, ONE OF THE CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT, TO SOME DEGREE, DOES NOT COOPERATE WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS.

DOES IT FEEL SAFE TO PEOPLE?

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS OFTEN MISSING IN IMMIGRATION COVERAGE CAN BE THE VOICES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST AFFECTED.

SO WE SENT BETWEEN THE MARSHALL PROJECT AND 'NEW YORK' MAGAZINE, OUR PARTNERS ON THIS, WE SENT OUT MORE THAN A DOZEN REPORTERS OVER THE COURSE OF WEEKS AND EVENTUALLY MONTHS TO INTERVIEW MORE THAN A HUNDRED PEOPLE.

IMMIGRANTS OF VARYING STATUSES IN NEW YORK CITY, ALONG WITH LAWYERS AND ADVOCATES WORKING ON IMMIGRATION TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON.

WHAT WE DID FIND WAS THIS NEW LEVEL OF FEAR UNDER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT, UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHO AT ONE POINT EARNED HIMSELF THE NICKNAME DEPORTER IN CHIEF, THERE WAS ALSO A LEVEL OF FEAR THAT WAS JUSTIFIED.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT NOW, AS YOU MENTIONED, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS DONE, AND THAT HE DID EARLY ON IN HIS ADMINISTRATION WAS TO SAY EVERYONE IS A TARGET OF I.C.E.

NOW.

IT'S NOT JUST PEOPLE WHO HAVE CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS, WHICH DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAS MORE OF A PRIORITY.

ALL RIGHT.

ONE OF THE MOST CAPTIVATING THINGS ABOUT THE ARTICLE IS THAT YOU SPEAK TO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE SUFFERING THIS EXPERIENCE, AND IT'S HEARTBREAKING, HARROWING.

LET ME JUST GIVE ONE EXAMPLE, IS A WOMAN WHO WAS TAKEN BY BORDER AGENTS OFF THE BUS IN NIAGARA FALL, AS SHE WAS COMING BACK FROM HER HONEYMOON AND IS NOW AWAITING DEPORTATION.

SO THE QUESTION IS, ARE THESE REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN THE CITY AND AROUND THE COUNTRY?

COULD THE ARGUMENT BE MADE THAT THE FEARS OF DEPORTATION ARE GREATER THAN THE REALITY?

WHAT WE FOUND WHEN WE TALKED TO PEOPLE THAT, YES, THOSE FEARS ARE REAL, AND COMMUNITIES ACROSS NEW YORK CITY, ACROSS THE FIVE BURROUGHS, A PASTOR AND UNDOCUMENTED SOUTH KOREAN, PASTOR IN QUEENS, WHO WE TALKED TO IN OUR STORY, HE TALKS ABOUT HOW EVEN PEOPLE WHO ARE LEGAL -- THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GREEN CARDS ARE WORRIED, BECAUSE BEING OUT OF STATUS AT ALL, HAVING ANY LEGAL SLIP-UP, A DUI OR SOMETHING, AND PEOPLE ARE AFRAID THAT COULD GET THEM IN TROUBLE.

HOW DOES IT MEAN, HOW DOES IT AFFECT ALL OF US IN NEW YORK CITY WHEN SUCH A LARGE POPULATION OF THE CITY IS LIVING IN FEAR?

WELL, THIS IS A CITY OF IMMIGRANTS.

IT'S BUILT ON IMMIGRANTS.

AND I THINK THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO THINK ABOUT SO MANY PEOPLE LIVING IN FEAR AND SO MANY PEOPLE HAVING TO EVENTUALLY LET'S SAY WITH TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS WHO MAY BE LEAVING, WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CITY AND THE MAKEUP OF OUR CITY.

I THINK THAT'S STILL SOMETHING TO BE DETERMINED.

ALL RIGHT.

GERALDINE, IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT AND VERY STRIKING PIECE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING IT.

AND THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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