LORAIN - A city councilman in Lorain says he's seen an increase in Border Patrol and ICE agents in his city.
He even posted a note about it on Facebook warning folks to be careful along “80,” the Ohio Turnpike.
Some community members have even begun snapping photos of Border Patrol agents along highways and report they’ve seen them entering the communities with the intent of finding immigrants who don’t have legal status in the United States.
This is a story close to Angel Arroyo's heart.
He's the product of Puerto Rican immigrants himself, in a few community where according to Ohio.gov, more than 29,000 Hispanics live and there are concerns that they may be unfairly targeted.
“I’m Puerto Rican, but how do I know that if you’re driving through my neighborhood that your not going to pull me over. I feel that they’re stereotyping some Latinos in our community,” Arroyo said, adding that some people are afraid to come outside and speak opening about certain issues.
Over the past month, Arroyo says he knows of at least two incidents in which residents have reached out to him regarding the presence of federal agents in communities.
“One situation was they were on the street and the residents asked who they were looking for and they said they were looking for undocumented,” Arroyo told WKYC’s Hilary Golston. “Another situation was someone called me and said they were looking in somebody’s house.”
Arroyo says he called Border Patrol to set up a meeting, to work with the agency as fear and tensions have risen amid anti-Hispanic immigrant rhetoric. “I have no problem with Border Patrol being in my community as long as they’re in the community for the right reasons.”
Arroyo says he “has a problem,” however with Border Patrol agents putting fear into community members and telling them they’re looking specifically for people who may not be in the country legally.
Javier Espitia, and organizer with the Lorain Ohio Immigrant Rights Association says he too has witnessed Border Agents showing up in neighborhoods, which he says was very infrequent before January.
“From zero to now it’s actually happening,” Espitia said of the change he’s witnessed. “We didn’t see them at all, maybe just in transit on highways maybe and now we’re seeing them in residential areas and that’s scary.”
Espitia works with migrant workers, many of whom lack proper documentation and many families are worried about what may happen to their loved ones.
© 2017 WKYC-TV