One in four people living in Painesville is of Hispanic descent. Recent high profile deportations have many undocumented immigrants there living in fear, but they aren’t the only ones. After the deportation of Beatriz Morelos on Monday, not only are undocumented immigrants fearful of living in Painesville, but U.S. citizens are too.
“I call it a nightmare because you don’t know what’s going on in your life,” said Oscar Ornelas, a Painesville resident and employee of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
“People, going out to work, not knowing if they’re coming back,” said Ana Padilla, a Mexican Immigrant who has lived in Painesville for 23 years.
Ornelas and Padilla are both of Mexican descent and both U.S. citizens. Both, though, are living in constant fear.
“Two landscapers were just asked randomly and it was not a traffic stop or anything, it was just asking for documents,” said Padilla.
ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids, Ornelas and Padilla say, are a common occurrence in Painesville where the population is a quarter Hispanic. 80 percent of those Hispanics hail from Mexico.
“Everybody has the name Mexicans. Doesn’t matter if they’re Puerto Ricans, South Americans or Caribbean and that’s very sad because that makes us feel like the worst country of the world,” said Ornelas.
Since the beginning of 2017, HOLA – Hispanics of Lake and Ashtabula County – estimates there have been hundreds of undocumented immigrants deported from Northeast Ohio.
When asked what it’s like living here, Padilla said, “If you’d asked me this six months ago, I would say, an amazing place to live, an amazing place to raise a family, now I cannot say the same.”
According to the U.S. Immigration Courts website, so far this year, nearly 2,000 people have been deported from Ohio. You can view that website here.