Adolfo Sánchez: the embodiment of Shattered
“The number of immigrants removed from the U.S. has steadily risen, from close to 190,000 deportations in 2001 to close to 400,000 per year in the past four years." (Molly O’Toole, “Analysis: Obama deportations raise immigration policy questions,” Reuters, September 20, 2011, available at http://www.reuters.com/ rticle/2011/09/20/us-obama-immigration-idUSTRE78J05720110920; Office of Immigration Statistics, Immigration Enforcement Actions: 2010 (Department of Homeland Security, 2011), available at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/)). “As immigration enforcement increased in the United States, reports emerged documenting the increasing number of children entering the foster care system as a result of their parents’ detention or deportation.” (Yali Lincroft, http://childwelfaresparc.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/reuniting-immigrant-families-act-brief.pdf).
Adolfo Sánchez is a painful example of this situation. He had a partner in the U.S. who due to an accident became addicted to pain killers, an addiction that escalated to heroin. Adolfo wanted to give a healthy upbringing to their child; thus, he decided to separate from her and won the custody of their little girl. But not for long, since his spouse had him deported—he was an undocumented immigrant—in order to put him out of the picture and take advantage of the situation.
The spouse’s criminal records are a clear reflection of how she keeps choosing drugs over her own daughter. Due to this circumstance, this innocent child is living in foster care when she already has a loving dad and a loving family. According to the Applied Research Center—a New York-based advocacy organization—at least 5,100 U.S. citizen children live in foster care.
There is no need to keep breaking apart families every day. “Children are often the unintended victims of our flawed immigration system. Some children may be too young to comprehend the complex immigration system that has led to the deportation of a family member but they certainly feel the pain of having to live without the love and care of someone dear to them. They are the ones who have to live without the people with whom they are supposed share all their precious childhood moments. All the tears, the smiles, the playful hugs and kisses, all of these are unfairly taken away from them. At such tender ages they must face the reality that their parents, and they themselves, are often criminalized for not being born in this country. At such tender ages, they are forced to deal with the heartbreak, pain, and anger that result from a system that often punishes the most vulnerable—the ones whose voices we often forget to listen to.
A delegation of researchers from Mexico’s northern border visited Washington D.C. to share findings on human rights violations in U.S. detention centers and along the U.S./Mexico border. Their report details an increase in the number of family separations due to interior enforcement programs like Secure Communities and 287g. These programs have contributed to the unprecedented number of deportations under President Obama and many groups have called for their termination.
Most importantly, NOW is the time to make sure
that our voices are heard! It is important that we lift up our
voices and advocate for the right of families to remain together, and the right
of children to live free of uncertainty and fear, free of terror and harm.” (http://officeofpublicwitness.blogspot.mx/2013/07/despite-movement-for-immigration-reform.html)