He’s here illegally. His son was born in U.S. ‘I’m worried of being separated from family’ under Trump

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers looking for a fugitive migrant question his mother during a morning raid on his residence in Riverside on Aug. 12.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Inside Express Coin Laundry in Maywood, clothes whirled inside washers and dryers, while President Trump spun in the minds of some customers at the laundromat.

Maywood is a predominately Latino immigrant city southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It was one of the first in the nation to declare itself a “sanctuary” city, protecting people in the country illegally.

For the record:

2:17 a.m. Jan. 29, 2023A headline on a previous version of this article referred to an immigrant’s child as his daughter. The child is the immigrant’s son.

As Trump rolled out his plans Wednesday to build a border wall and crack down on illegal immigration, some residents were concerned.


Among them was Hector Cruz, 25, a Mexican national whose newborn son slept in an infant car seat.

“I’m afraid of immigration raids,” Cruz said, peeking over at his son. “I’m worried of being separated from family.”

Cruz, a Maywood resident who is in the country illegally, said life will get harder for immigrants like himself, but he’ll continue to work to try to provide for his family.

“It’s a shame to see that the president is so against us,” he said. “All we’re doing is working and trying to get by.”

Cruz said that while he is afraid of being deported, he feels “safe and protected” in a sanctuary city like Maywood.

“We’re able to walk around freely,” he said. “We’re so grateful that the city gave its word that it would not cooperate with immigration and government officials.”

Supporters of the president praised his tough stance, saying illegal immigration harms the nation and should stop. They also say immigrants here illegally drive down wages and take jobs from American citizens.

But others see it differently.

Maywood officials said they plan to remain a sanctuary city no matter what Trump does.

“It became second nature,” Mayor Pro Tem Eduardo De La Riva said. “It wasn’t a topic of discussion because California became so progressive over the years, it was sort of the norm.

“But ever since Trump entered the national stage and because of his rhetoric, more cities became sanctuary cities, and it once again came to the spotlight, and now we’re having to ask, ‘What does it mean to be a sanctuary city?’ ” he said.

Details about Trump’s crackdown remain unclear. Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders designed to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, add lockups for detaining immigrants who cross the border illegally, enhance enforcement powers for border agents and strip federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.

According to a draft document reviewed by The Times, under the new order, the federal government would threaten to withhold funds from cities that limit cooperation with immigration officials.

More than 400 jurisdictions across the country have some sort of sanctuary policy, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and about 40 others in California.

Maria Torres, 47, a legal resident in Maywood, said she worries for friends who are here illegally.

“It’s just awful,” she said.

Alex Gonzalez, 33, a Maywood resident, said he doesn’t think much will change regarding Trump’s executive order.

“On a federal level, how is that really going to affect us? Our city is more affected by the City Council than the federal government,” he said. “I’m not too upset about it.”