One community of undocumented immigrants is feeling especially vulnerable as a result of the tough new policies coming from Washington these days: hundreds of unaccompanied minors who have found sanctuary, and in some cases asylum, in the city. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
It's hard for this 13-year-old to talk about her perilous journey from Honduras through Mexico to the United States
The teen, who calls herself Tania, says extreme poverty and threats from gangs forced her to flee with her siblings three years ago.
The children crossed a dangerous river, traveled by train and then by foot to get to the U.S. border, part of an exodus of nearly 20,000 unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S illegally in 2014, most from Central America
Tania won asylum last year, but she fears she could still be deported.
"Not everybody come here to like, to do something bad," she said.
Tania was about to undergo deportation proceedings when lawyers from the nonprofit Safe Passage Project took on her case and won. She now lives in Queens.
The group also is working on 600 other cases of unaccompanied minors who resettled in the city and on Long Island, but face deportation. Most are from Central America
The Robin Hood Foundation is providing funding to make that possible. Without it, the children likely would be appearing in immigration court by themselves.
"During 2014, there was an increase of children fleeing violence in Central America, and Safe Passage decided to take on more cases," said Gui Stampur, deputy executive director of the Safe Passage Project.
Trump has vowed to clamp down on undocumented immigrants and build a wall along the Mexico border, arguing that's necessary to make the country safer.
Safe Passage officials say the rhetoric is making the children they represent anxious about their futures.
"Under the Obama administration, there were significant deportations. And Trump, because of his political campaign and the executive order, he has used that as a platform to instill fear," Stampur said.
But while she's fearful, Tania has big dreams of becoming a doctor. It's a dream she believes could only be fulfilled by staying in this country.