ALBANY PARK — As the courts continue to wrangle over the White House's immigration policy, Latinos in Albany Park have a more basic question: What does this mean for me?
On Thursday, the Latino Union of Chicago tried to assure them that no matter what happens, the advocacy group representing day laborers and domestic workers has their back.
The union held a meeting in its new home at 4811 N. Central Park Ave. to address mounting fears among its members, dispel rumors and share information on immigrants' rights.
"People are concerned about what it means if they go to work, if they see a cop," said Analia Rodriguez, executive director of the union. "Mostly people are trying to figure out what this means for them personally."
While much of the focus on President Donald Trump's travel ban, which the courts have struck down, focused on the plight of refugees, it also spawned confusion among immigrants, who are worried that green card holders will be denied entry into the U.S., she said.
Attendees at the forum asked questions about who the Trump administration would consider a priority for deportation and whether visas issued in the past were still valid after the executive order, according to Rebecca Harris, a spokeswoman for the Latino Union.
"One attendee voiced concern about whether his elderly parents, who have a visa, would be able to answer the detailed questions that some border guards are now asking visitors," Harris told DNAinfo via email.
"We're definitely under attack," Rodriguez said.
Inflammatory language from President Donald Trump, who recently blamed "undocumented immigrants" for the violence in Chicago, has only reinforced that sense, she said.
"The idea of criminalizing an entire population — it doesn't matter if you're documented or not, you're all criminals," she said. "Even as naturalized citizens, it doesn't matter."
Rodriguez was quick to point out that former President Barack Obama deported a record number of immigrants, but the tone of the conversation with President Donald Trump is much different.
"Now it's very clear.... 'You're a criminal, we're going to build a wall and get you out of here,'" she said. "Now people feel, 'I don't have to be nice, I don't have to pretend I like you. I can say whatever I want.'"
If there's a silver lining to be found in Trump's "in your face" stance against immigrants, it's that it's mobilized allies who stood on the sideline during the Obama administration, Rodriguez said.
An August raid on Chicago day laborers took place "pre-Trump," she noted. "We've been doing this work for a long time."
The recent "sanctuary restaurant" movement and a surge in interested volunteers has been appreciated, Rodriguez said.
"A lot of times, people want to do the sexy protesting," she said, but frankly having someone in the office help to fold brochures is equally important.
"If our [employees] are stuffing envelopes, they're not out there telling workers about their rights," Rodriguez said.
People can also provide support by reaching out to the people who clean their houses and take care of their children, she said.
"Think about that person, how does this affect them?" Rodriguez said.
A simple "I hope you're doing well" or passing along helpful information would be welcome, she said, depending on the relationship people have with their domestic workers.
"Let's talk about this," Rodriguez said. "These are conversations people don't usually have."