Panicked Charlotte immigrants fret about their kids as deportation threats grow

Fear of a quick deportation has reached the point that Charlotte’s undocumented immigrants are taking steps in advance to find guardians for their children and caretakers for their homes and possessions.

One hundred such parents came to the Camino Community Center in Charlotte last weekend to complete notarized letters assigning guardianship for about 500 minors – in case of an immigration emergency.

A similar event will be held this coming weekend in Charlotte at another nonprofit location, but organizers are dodging publicity out of fear it might attract federal immigration agents.

“Our clients are extremely fearful of what will happen to their families under current immigration policies,” said an organizer of the upcoming event.

The Spanish language newspaper Que Pasa Mi Gente reports 20 lawyers, 12 notaries and 27 interpreters took part in the event last weekend, which was coordinated by the Latin American Coalition of Charlotte and Camino Community Center.

Experts say notarized letters help in cases where parents are swept up in arrests by federal agents, leaving behind children. The letters provide for such things as temporary child guardianship and the control of personal property, including real estate, vehicles, bank accounts or businesses.

“Before we opened the doors for the event, there were already 30 people waiting,” Wendy Mateo-Pascual, director of Camino Community Center, told Que Pasa Mi Gente.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested more than 30 undocumented immigrants in Charlotte since the start of the year, including one Northwest School of the Arts student and the owner of a concrete company.

Experts say there are as many as 54,000 people from other countries living illegally in Charlotte.