President Donald Trump proposal to deport all illegal immigrants who enter the country through Mexico, despite their home country. East Texas immigrants are feeling uneasy, according to a local representative from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
"For a long time, we've had a lull and there hasn't been a real enforcement in the laws, and now that there is, it's all at one time,” said Gilbert Urbina, representative from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The proposed policy was first announced on February 20. In summary, anyone that enters the US through Mexico, no matter where they came from, will be deported back to Mexico.
Urbina said this proposal from Trump will bring hardship to families trying to come to the us legally.
"So, for example, when people from Africa spend up to $20,000 to be brought to Mexico to come in illegally through the southern border, instead of being sent back to Africa, they would be sent back to Mexico," he said.
This law has been in existence through the Obama Administration, but Urbina said it was not heavily enforced. He said it's a strategy used by Trump to also force Mexico to step up its policies.
"I think it would create a hardship on Mexico, and I think it's kind of a tactic - causing them to enforce their immigration policies," he said.
A spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement to CBS19.
"The United States has been and continues to be a welcoming nation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection not only protects U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in the country but also wants to ensure the safety of international travelers who come to visit, study and conduct legitimate business in the United States. Illegal aliens with a final order of removal are returned to their home countries. As noted in the Executive Order and Secretary Kelly’s implementation memo, there is a provision of US law (Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 235(b)(2)(C)) that allows for individuals who entered the U.S. through Mexico and who wish to appeal or seek relief through our immigration courts, to be sent to Mexico pending disposition of their case. The Department of Homeland Security is jointly working with the Government of Mexico and the U.S. Department of State on this option and exploring how it might best be implemented.”
Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX 1st District) said this proposal serves as a warning for people to not just pass through Mexico illegally.
“It’s time someone holds these immigrants accountable,” Gohmert said.