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Controversial deportation leaves local ‘DREAMer’ living in fear

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Juan, 28, said every day of his life is filled with fear.

"There was always a level of anxiety, like really high anxiety because you don’t know what’s going to happen," he said.

Because of that fear, he asked FOX 4 not to reveal his identity.

"Homeland Security can say you’re temporary safe and kind of secure but you’re still technically undocumented and we can ship you out at anytime," Juan said.

Juan was born in Mexico and moved to the United States with his family when he was young. Since becoming a "DREAMer" in 2012, he said going through the process of annually filing and renewing to keep his status does not ensure his safety.

"I felt like I had sturdy ground to stand on, but after that it definitely shook," Juan said. "It’s an alert and you’re scared because you don’t know if the next traffic stop is going to be the last time you’re going to see your family here."

Juan's fear stems from the controversial deportation of 23-year-old Juan Montes in February, although it wasn't in the news until this week. According to reports, Montes was deported from California to Mexico within three hours of being stopped by authorities, despite qualifying for "DREAMer Status."

Christina Jasso works at the Guadalupe Center in Kansas City and helps dozens of people such as Juan who are now unsure what the ramifications of Montes' deportation will mean for them.

"I don’t think everybody gets the big piece of it, if you’re here for 10 or 15 years, you don’t even know how to help yourself," Jasso said, "How do you tell the community what are we going to do now, because this has never happened before and I don’t know what is going to happen to any of the cases going forward."

Jasso said the center will ramp up its efforts on knowledge and preparation.

"I think that we are going to have to start doing more presentations, more know your rights, and more information will get out eventually about what happened," Jasso said.

Meanwhile, Juan's hope is the community will work to understand.

"We literally just want to work, get a higher education, and live our lives. That’s what we want, that’s the American Dream. Work hard and earn what you keep," he said

To find a schedule of classes or contact information you can click on this link for more details.