Advocates call for more protection of immigrants

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NEW YORK -

The city's immigrant populations, legal and undocumented alike, say they're facing growing fears of crackdowns and discrimination.

"Our families are very sad because a lot of them are being separated," says Irania Sanchez, of Make the Road New York.

"Recently, ICE agents arrested folks nearly a block away from a CUFFH member church," says Giovanni Matos, referring to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and the group he represents, Churches United for Fair Housing.

Laura Espinoza, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador who now lives in Sunset Park, says she's not afraid to speak out against the crackdown.

"You and your family, you're not alone," she says, aiming her message at fellow immigrants. "I'm in the community, I'm with you. So we need to work together to stand, and your voice has to be loud."

Other immigrants, even those who are here legally, say they're worried.

"I have been concerned about harassment because I'm Latin," says Guadalupe Gonzalez, also of Sunset Park. "I have been concerned about the government changing legislation...or asking for more requirements."

City Councilman Carlos Mechaca says he hopes to put his constituents' fears at ease by working to keep data on immigrants confidential.

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