NORWALK, Ohio- Six months after several of the largest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in recent memory across Northeast Ohio, one volunteer remains steadfast in her efforts to help those left behind.
"Anger -- these are people, not policy, so it's just very frustrating amounts of anger," Bella Sin explained while trying to purchase groceries.
Sin arrived at La Plaza Supermarket in Cleveland early and in a rush before work. She was trying to purchase groceries for up to 60 families whose loved ones were detained or deported as a result of the raids.
In June, search warrants were executed at Fresh Mark locations in Massillon, Canton and Salem where 146 people were initially arrested for immigration violations, according to an ICE news release at the time. One week prior, at least 114 people were arrested at Corso's Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia.
Sin uses the money pooled in a donation jar at La Plaza to shop for the groceries then personally delivers them to families in Norwalk.
"I'm a Mexican immigrant myself and after I saw what happened in the raid I could not stand by and do nothing," Sin said. "I know they needed long-term help, so I've been helping the last six months because they're my people."
Sin is not alone in attempting to help. El Centro located in Lorain works to provide education, employment and social services with an emphasis on the Latino community. Anabel Barron Sanchez is a case worker there who has personally visited many families impacted by the raids.
"Sometimes it's very hard for me to go to sleep," said Sanchez. "They're in a panic mode. They feel like any day an ICE agent will come to their door and take them away from their family."
An undocumented immigrant who asked to be called Maria said, through a translator, the increased instability in Mexico will likely lead to more people illegally immigrating to the U.S. despite the known risks.
"There's a lot of bad things happening there's no security for people over there," said Maria. "...What I worry about is, it gets scary because every time we hear about ICE we hear about the separation of families."
Those on opposing sides of the issue say this is a problem that would not exist if people did not break the law to illegally enter the country.
As for Sin, who spent half the day shopping, driving, and unloading, she says she hopes her effort helps fill the void this holiday.
"These are people to me; these are my friends,"she said from her car, wiping away tears. "It's difficult to always get people, not understanding these are human beings. These are not undocumented immigrants; these are not numbers; these are not people on paper."