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Dear undocumented immigrants: We care about you

Undocumented immigrants should be able to feel safe.

CREDIT: iStock
CREDIT: iStock

This is a time of difficulty for many undocumented immigrants who may face significant life changes once President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January 2017.

The president elect has promised to triple the number of federal law enforcement agents to round up immigrants. He has vowed to deport anywhere between two and three million “criminal” immigrants, build a southern U.S. -Mexico border wall, and may rescind the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative that provided temporary deportation relief and work authorization for roughly 742,000 immigrants.

Known as DREAMers, some undocumented DACA recipients brought to the country as children, have already turned to crisis centers and hotlines to express anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. In the state of Illinois, calls to these organizations have gone up 200 percent, many from immigrants. In a letter Thursday challenging President Obama to use his presidential pardon authority to keep DACA recipients from being deported, House Democrats said that “have received reports of DREAMers who have taken their own lives as they are now facing the threat posed by the incoming President,” reports that have also been quietly affirmed by multiple advocates who spoke with ThinkProgress.

Immigrant advocates have responded to Trump’s win with fierce opposition. Over 80 universities across the country held staged class walkouts and engaged in campus sit-ins last week to support undocumented students.

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“I’m ready to fight for the community and that I need someone to fight for me,” Gaby Pacheco, a DREAMer, told ThinkProgress. “It’s an indication to the community to be strong together and to be ready to fight for each other.”

Yet some immigrants may still find it difficult to get through this hard time. Here are just a few safe places that ThinkProgress reached out to ask on behalf of undocumented immigrants who may be in emotional distress:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Hotline number (English): 1–800–273–8255

Hotline number (Spanish): 1–888–628–9454

This national organization allows people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress to call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the country.

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“The Lifeline is available for anyone in distress — you don’t have to be suicidal to call, and the Lifeline does not check immigration status on calls,” Frances Gonzalez, Director of Communications at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, told ThinkProgress.

The Trevor Project

Hotline number: 1–866–488–7386

This national organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people between the ages of 13 and 24.

“Safety and security is the most important thing for the Trevor Project,” Steve Mendelsohn, Deputy Executive Director at The Trevor Project, told ThinkProgress. “We make sure that everything we discuss is held in strict confidence. We would never report their status. We receive calls and contacts form undocumented people frequently.”

In the days following Trump’s election win, Mendelsohn said the organization reached call volumes that were 120 percent higher last week.

“The volume is still higher than normal, it’s still 50 percent nigher than what we normally see.”

Undocu-Healing Project

Email: undocuhealingproject@gmail.com

This is an initiative aimed at helping undocumented young people receive holistic healing to achieve emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in the state of California.

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“The hope is to bring people more into balance with the understanding that our society in many ways is imbalanced,” Jose Arreola, founder and project director at Undocu-Healing Project, told ThinkProgress. He added that shared information would be “private and confidential and no one else will have access to it.”

“In the days after the election, there’s been a really high level of interest, contact, and outpouring of questions both for support and for community and a safe space,” Arreola said, explaining that his organization has seen a large increase in the number of emails from concerned immigrants. His organization has since held conference calls for advocates to join, gone out into the community to do healing circles, and initiated healing events for community members to attend.