Let’s Keep Families Together for the Holiday

This was cross-posted at Daily Kos. -Elisa

As the daughter of a Cuban immigrant father and Puerto Rican mother who grew up speaking Spanish and around immigrants with and without the right paperwork, I am very passionate about the human rights of immigrants. Because I have seen how hard undocumented immigrants work and understand that we ALL benefit from their labor whether they live here or abroad, I am bothered by the vitriol against them, injustices against their humanity, and our refusal even to address the root cause of why so many of them, economic refugees, flee to our country.

I am particularly disappointed at how we have failed to come together to address this humanitarian crisis — I agree with Professor George Lakoff that 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants is a humanitarian crisis! – for the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of children in this country who worry every day that their parents will be taken from them.

In the first report of its kind, Applied Research Center (ARC) has found that more than 5,000 children are in the foster care system because their parents have been detained or deported. Considering the record number of deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), this number is expected to exceed 15,000 in just five years.

Families in this sad situation have little recourse than to split up. Because ICE detention obstructs the ability for parents to participate in Child Protective Services’ family unification plans, detained parents can actually lose their parental rights.

In light of the upcoming holidays and International Human Rights Day on December 10, the We Belong Together initiative is hosting a letter-writing campaign for children to ask our leaders to consider the devastating impact our immigration enforcement practices are having on families. We can’t think of a sadder holiday for children than to be separated from their parents.

Our goal is to collect 5,000 letters. It may be a simple action, but we hope it will be one of many steps to keep families together and address the humanitarian crisis in our backyard.

5 thoughts on “Let’s Keep Families Together for the Holiday

  1. The shame I feel when I watch the news, and see

    how this country mistreats immigrants, when all they want is a better life for themselves, and their children.  

    I will never understand how a country as ours, who professes to be family oriented, abuse of defenseless children, by separating them from their parents, and leaving them with strangers.  How would you feel if someone did the same thing to your family?  

  2. Thanks for posting

    My heritage group recently hosted a man who wrote a memoir about his father. In the 1920s, his father came to the US from Russia. He then sent for his family. On their way, there was an outbreak of some health thing and the ship landed in Puerto Rico rather than New Orleans. His wife & children were trapped, even though they weren’t sick. They were going to be sent back to Russia, so the man went down. He found out he could take his wife back to the States but was advised to leave the children. Once both parents were in the States, it would be easier to get the kids. The kids were placed in an orphanage. They spoke German and had never heard Spanish before, and were without any family for several months.

    Eventually the man got his family together, but how sad that this has been going on for so long. I truly believe there is an easier, and definitely more humane, way to do this.

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