News / USA

Children of Deported Push Congress to Reunite Immigrant Families

Saul Arellano, left, the son of a Mexican woman deported from the U.S., stands with an immigration activist at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Congress in Washington, DC on June 5, 2013. (Photo by Mitzi Macias)
Saul Arellano, left, the son of a Mexican woman deported from the U.S., stands with an immigration activist at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Congress in Washington, DC on June 5, 2013. (Photo by Mitzi Macias)
Kate WoodsomeMitzi Macias
The son of a Mexican woman who became a symbol of the U.S. immigration reform movement by taking sanctuary in a Chicago church to try to avoid deportation pushed lawmakers in Washington Wednesday to help families like his.

Saul Arellano and other young U.S. citizens whose parents have been deported, or are in detention for immigration violations, shared their stories with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, just days before the Senate is set to debate a possible overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

"It's been 10 painful years,” said Arellano, reflecting on the time since his mother first faced legal troubles and was later deported for living and working illegally in the U.S.

He said his one dream is for the U.S. to pass immigration reform, “because many families are being separated, and that is not fair.”

The U.S.-born Arellano, now a teenager, currently lives with his mother Elvira in Michoacan, Mexico. The pair became the unlikely stars of a national drama that unfolded in 2006, when Elvira took sanctuary at the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois in the mid-western United States. In an effort to stay close to her son, Elvira evaded deportation for immigration violations, but was swiftly returned to Mexico when she left the church to lobby her case in California.

While in Washington, Arellano said he hoped to see President Barack Obama, whom he met once before when the president was a senator in Illinois, pushing for immigration reform to help people like Arellano.

Emma Lozano, a spokeswoman for Familia Latina Unida, an advocacy group co-founded by Elvira Arellano, urged Obama to use his executive powers on deportations, as he did with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum.

Last year’s so-called DACA memorandum protected some undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children from deportation.

“Obama should use his executive powers like he used for DACA and all those eligible under the Senate bill. He should stop those deportations immediately,” Lozano said. “We need a solution now.”

The Obama administration has removed more undocumented immigrants from the country than any other presidency, overseeing the deportation of nearly 400,000 people annually since 2009, according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center.

Not all of those people have children in the U.S., but many do. A new report by Human Impact Partners says an estimated 152,000 children were affected by the 88,517 deportations of undocumented immigrants last year who said they had at least one U.S. citizen child.

The California-based health research and advocacy group says those children, as well as the more than four million others who live in families where one or more of their parents are undocumented, face anxiety and fear that could result in mental health and behavioral problems.

The group, like Arellano and Familia Latina Unida, are pushing for the Obama administration to help reunite families separated by deportation.

The immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago, is expected to come under review by the full Senate next week. To become law, it needs to be approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, and signed by the president.

The current bill would provide more opportunities for individuals deported from the U.S. to re-enter the country. An applicant without a criminal conviction, who is also a spouse, parent or child of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, or who entered the country as a child and meets some other requirements, could potentially get a waiver to return to the States.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs