Trump's executive order to build a wall is making many Latinos in WNC uneasy

President Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday aimed at illegal immigration, making many Latinos in Western North Carolina nervous about the future of their community.

"It's hard, it's really hard," said Maria Soto, a citizen who grew up in Asheville and attended Erwin High School after her mother and two sisters emigrated to the U.S. from Guadalajara in Mexico 11 years ago.

"It's frustrating, it really is," said Soto. "Not all Latinos are bad. We are good too. We work hard. We study. We try to get better and better."

Soto and her husband, Luiz Prieto, own the Los Nunes bakery, butchery and grocery store off Patton Ave. She said her family is made up of entrepreneurs who own various businesses.

Most people in her family are full citizens. Soto said whether they are citizens or not, some people she knows feel like they are treated differently depending on where they go.

"They feel more apart, divided, and frustrated, because they wanna work hard and do their best," said Soto. "And they can't just because of the way they look. And that's hard. Really hard."

Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to "begin immediately" constructing the wall.

Government measures that spend money usually originate in the house--current estimates for costs of the wall range wildly from $5-25 billion. But the constitution gives the president broader powers when it comes to foreign policy and protecting our borders.

Trump also is he head of the executive branch, so he can direct cabinet departments to spend time and resources where he wants them.

But regardless of the authority, the new orders are sending a message to immigrants--particularly Latinos.

"And probably not a very welcoming one," said Chris Cooper, head of the political science department at Western Carolina. "Some folks look at that as a real problem, some say we shouldn't be as welcoming to people. That defines one of the real fault lines in American politics today: how do you treat folks who want to come to this country?"

There is a difference between immigrants and refugees. Syrians who flee to Europe and the U.S. are treated differently under international law.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week that would limit the amount of Syrian refugees the U.S. can accept.

Europe has felt the brunt of the refugee crisis since the war in Syria started, so a U.S.-instituted limit on refugees could anger some European countries.

That will certainly be a topic of conversation when U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May becomes the first foreign head of state to visit the White House when she arrives on Friday.

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