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Deporting Parents


What happens when our unjust immigration system deports parents of children who are under 18? It’s usually pretty grim. Orange is the New Black actress Diane Guerrero’s story is about as good as it is going to get:

And then one day, my fears were realized. I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.

Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.

While awaiting deportation proceedings, my parents remained in detention near Boston, so I could visit them. They would have liked to fight deportation, but without a lawyer and an immigration system that rarely gives judges the discretion to allow families to stay together, they never had a chance. Finally, they agreed for me to continue my education at Boston Arts Academy, a performing arts high school, and the parents of friends graciously took me in.

Being 14, having friends with generous parents, a great high school, this is not the norm. Even here, her family was deported and she was left behind, separated from her parents during many of the most important moments of her life. This is a horrible thing that does no one any good. Completely unjustified and it’s about time that President Obama take more concrete steps to deal with this unjust system, even without Congressional approval.

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