HOUSTON (FOX 26) - On a day when President Donald Trump began making good on his promise to build a border wall and punish cities who offer the undocumented sanctuary, you could almost feel the ripple effect of uncertainty in a metropolis where four in ten residents are Latino and a full 24 percent speak limited or no English.
"What we've seen in the last couple of days is really terrifying for our folks," said Cesar Espinosa, an immigrant rights activist with the organization Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle.
Espinosa says beyond the on-going call for compassion, his community is appealing to conservative American taxpayers with a message they respect—cost control.
He claims sending the undocumented back is more expensive and disruptive than allowing the law abiding to stay.
"Money is going to be thrown at a border that's already secure, that already has a fence and just more wasteful spending," said Espinosa.
But former State Representative Steve Toth says Trump's border wall can and should be built for the good of both countries.
He favors a federal fee on money sent home to Mexico to fund the wall's construction.
"The United States has the ability to put a three percent or four percent tax on the billions of dollars that go back there every year, so we can pay for this and they should pay for it," said Toth.
On the issue of punishing so-called "sanctuary cities" Toth believes the president is on the right track.
"We have 400 some odd cities across the cities across the United States who are ignoring federal law. I'm glad he is doing it," said Toth.
Back on Houston's streets the one thing certain is the uncertainty that's sure to prevail in the new era of Donald Trump in the presidency.
"Right now I am worried about my permit and I don't know what's going to happen. Everybody is worrying about it," said Valentin Lubiano, an immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for the past 17 years.
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto is reportedly considering cancelation of his scheduled meeting with President Trump next week in Washington.