Clinic Takes Drastic Measures to Defend Patients Against Trump’s ICE Raids

According to a Los Angeles Times report published Friday, a community health clinic is preparing itself for raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The publication spoke with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles and was told that, as part of its administrative procedure, staff are learning how to block ICE officers from entering the clinic by forming human chains in front of the building.

St. John’s chief executive Jim Mangia told the LA Times how oppressive the current climate is for undocumented patients in need of medical care. Many ask for extra medicine to stock in case they have to go off the grid to avoid detention or deportation, Mangia said.

"They want to have a stockpile. There’s this tremendous fear that on their way to take their kids to school, or on their way to the clinic, or on their way into the store, they’re going to get picked up and deported."

While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump said that undocumented people and their loved ones in the United States would “have to go.” Under the Trump administration, arrests related to immigration have reportedly increased by 38 percent on a nationwide scale.

For the children of undocumented patients, the fear that their parents could be deported is taking a toll on their mental health. "We have kids coming in and crying, 'What if they deport my dad?'" Mangia said. "I don't think we can underestimate the mental health impact."

The LA Times report arrives after hospitals in the country raised concerns over undocumented people missing critical medical check-ups as they fear that their personal information will be logged and used by federal agents to track them down. In October 2017, ICE agents detained a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy in a Texas hospital. ICE spokesman Dan Hetlage justified the move as simple compliance on part of the agency. “The agent is wrong if he lets her go. We don't have the discretion. It's not a traffic ticket. We follow the letter of the law,” Hetlage said.

The Trump administration’s stance on immigration has had an insidious ripple effect even on legal immigrants. Samantha Artiga of the Kaiser Family Foundation told the Times, "Even if they’re not affected by that particular policy change, it just makes them worried about the stability of their status, and we even heard that among greencard holders and lawfully permanent residents."

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