President Donald Trump's immigration executive orders include some of the strictest, most controversial enforcement policies of any White House administration in modern U.S. history. Despite ongoing raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and new Department of Homeland Security guidelines expanding which deportations the federal government now prioritizes, however, some undocumented immigrants aren't planning on packing up and leaving Trump's America.
Juan Carlos Hernandez-Pacheco, an undocumented immigrant living in West Frankfort, Illinois, spent 20 days in an immigrant detention center after being recognized by a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent he met two years ago. But the father of three, whose children are U.S. citizens, wasn’t dismayed by the incident – in fact, he said he and several of his cellmates supported Trump’s immigration efforts.
"Donald Trump was the first to be known for promise and delivery," Hernandez-Pacheco told CNN Friday. Of his fellow undocumented immigrants within the immigrant detention center, he said, "They wish that the Mexican president and every other president in the world would do the same."
New guidelines issued by John Kelly, Trump’s Department of Homeland secretary, expanded President Barack Obama’s deportation focus from immigrants charged with violent felonies to virtually any undocumented immigrant with a criminal history or charged with a crime. Whereas Hernandez-Pacheco would not have been detained by immigration enforcement agents under the Obama administration, he was immediately susceptible to facing deportation under Trump in February after his two DUI charges from over 10 years ago.
Many activist organizations and nonpartisan groups alike have condemned Trump’s immigration actions, saying his campaign promise to deport up to three million people within his first 100 days in office is a "human rights crisis" waiting to happen, International Business Times previously reported.
But Hernanndez-Pacecho said he isn't going anywhere. The undocumented immigrant promised his oldest American son he would continue living in the U.S. during Trump's presidency.
"I told him that I was here to stay," Hernandez-Pacheco said. "I'm going nowhere."