LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Illegal immigration is a hot topic in our nation right now. Over the past few weeks, more than a dozen undocumented immigrants have been arrested in central Oklahoma as part of a nationwide crackdown.
Members of the Hispanic community, and those who are advocates for immigrants, worries about what lies ahead.
On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security said 680 people were arrested during immigration enforcement operations last week by officers in several states.
Doug Stump is an immigration lawyer in Oklahoma City, and their phones have been ringing constantly over the past several days from people who are worried they're going to be deported. They're even extending their office hours to the weekend to handle the demand for advice.
"Well people are terrified, It's sort of like being in an emergency room following a bus crash. People are terrified. We are seeing large number of individuals who previously weren't the concerned about the status of their country but have now decided to obtain more attention to what they can do to have a lawful status," Stump said.
Stump said when President Obama was in office, the focus was primarily on deporting illegal immigrants who were criminals.
"As a result, when law enforcement pulled someone over who was undocumented for speeding or for minor traffic events, or if the immigration lawyers came across someone unlawfully, if they did not have a criminal record, they would be released," Stump said.
But President Trump is now following through on a campaign promise to deport those who are in the country illegally and has expanded the reasons for taking people into custody. These orders have shaken the Hispanic community.
"If they suspect an individual has committed a crime, whether he is just charged with it or they have a suspicion, that individual can now be placed in deportation proceedings," Stump said.
"In the past ICE would send their officers to try to find someone who had a felony conviction and when they came to a house, dad was there and dad had a felony but mom and brother-in-law was there, they were also unlawful, previously no one would be taken into custody except for the individual with the felony. Now ICE is taking everyone into custody," said Stump.
Stump also thinks Trump will add as many as 10,000 border patrol officers to the force and expects we will continue to see large numbers of undocumented immigrants deported.