What is the future of South Florida's immigrants after Donald Trump wins election?

Immigration attorney says he has been flooded with calls from worried residents

MIAMI – President-elect Donald Trump's platform on immigration has instilled plenty of fear among immigrants in the U.S., including South Florida. 

Employees at immigration offices said they have been bombarded with legal questions.

"(I've received) 50 phone calls a day from very, very frantic people," immigration attorney Antonio Revilla said.

Revilla said the phone calls have ramped up since election night. 

Potential and current clients are asking him what will happen once Trump is in the White House. 

He said it's complete panic from people who fear that Trump will follow through on his immigration promises. 

"He can undo executive action," Revilla said.

Trump can undo things like DACA, which protects immigrant children from deportation who came to the U.S. at an early age. 

Obama already has his priorities set when it comes to those whom the government deports, and usually criminals go first. 

"If it goes back to placing more people in these proceedings, then the question is, are there enough immigration judges for that? And there aren't," Revilla said.

Revilla said he is telling his clients that "nothing is changing right now, but we should try and take advantage of the benefits that do exist right now in case things are changed."

Revilla said the government will likely allow people to be grandfathered in if they start the process to citizenship now, even if things change.

He reminds his clients that immigration has due process, so undocumented immigrants can often linger for years while their cases are resolved. 

"This is the time I've seen people most concerned," Revilla said.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.