On an overcast September morning that seemed like any other, twenty-year-old Steve Li woke up early and began getting ready for his classes at the City College of San Francisco.

He ignored the unexpected ringing of the doorbell, until it was replaced by an urgent pounding at the door. Moments later, as he stood in the bathroom, he heard his mother’s voice as she answered the door.

What happened next is a nightmare familiar to some 11 million undocumented people who reside in the United States, many of whom live day to day with uncertainty.

Deportations are on the rise. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security, last year they hit a record high of nearly 410,000, a rate double what it had been over the previous ten years. And that number doesn’t include “voluntary returns” — mostly people who are picked...

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