A project of the Center for Community Change

Children, Grandchildren, Urge Congress to Reunite Their Families Separated by Broken Immigration System

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Contact:
For English language Media:
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)
For Spanish language Media:
Ricardo Ramírez, rramirez@communitychange.org,  202-339-9371, (202) 905-1738 (cell)

Kids’ Caregivers Either Deported or Facing Deportation

(WASHINGTON)—As the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first markup on the immigration bill, the children and grandchildren of deported caregivers or with parents facing deportation held a vigil today on Capitol Hill as part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement’s (FIRM) effort to improve the path to citizenship in the immigration proposal and to keep families together now.

Jacqueline Garcia, 16, of Arizona, spoke of her grandfather’s deportation in 2012. Since he had been the guardian for her and her 14-year-old brother, Jacqueline spoke of the hardship her family has faced ever since.

“I work two jobs because my grandmother is disabled and cannot work, so I have to support my family now,” said Garcia, who is a member of the FIRM group Promise Arizona. “I want Congress to know how much my grandfather sacrificed for me and my brother and one day, I hope to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice so I can make sure no other family is separated like mine because of a bad immigration law.”

Nushin Tarannum, 12, of New York state spoke of how her family has suffered since her father, Abul Kashem, was taken into custody by immigration officials in February 2012. Kashem left his native Bangladesh because he was the victim of violence and torture.

“My mother is sick, she cannot work to support us,” Tarannum said, who was born in the U.S. “My family gets help from friends and other family members but sometimes we only eat one meal a day. I am heartbroken, my family is devastated, over the separation of my father.”

Tarannum, a member of the FIRM group the New York Immigrant Coalition, had this message for the Senators: “Please, I ask you, to grant my father forgiveness. Everyone deserves a second chance. My family is suffering greatly without him.”

Members of the faith community also attended the vigil and Rev. Randy Mayer with the Arizona-Sonora Border Coalition spoke of the need for a clear and direct path to citizenship without triggers.

“Faith communities living in the shadow of the border are concerned about the insatiable desire for more security,” said Mayer, Lead Minister of The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita, AZ. “We support amendments that mitigate migrant deaths in the desert, limit the drone zone and make sure there are clear oversights and accountability for Border Patrol. As people of faith in the Borderlands we embrace the diversity in our communities and call on all people to welcome and love our neighbor for the common good.”

This vigil, organized by FIRM, is an effort to increase immigrant presence in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup process. For the duration of the committee’s immigration markup, FIRM groups will have families in the Capitol, including families from committee members’ home states, and vigils outside the building, as well as daily lobby visits from families calling on Congress for a real, clear and direct path to citizenship, not an endless, unworkable obstacle course.

“For these families, immigration reform is not about politics or party preference. It’s about keeping daughters united with their mothers, about parents being able to provide for their children, and about keeping families together rather than continuing the deportations tearing families apart,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “These families face a fierce urgency and so does our country.  With 1,100 families torn apart each day and impacted in fundamentally immoral and degrading ways because of our broken immigration system, immigration reform cannot wait.”

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