Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some After Experience Reflections

Wednesday July 8, 2009

By Danielle Hindieh

Our visit to Casa del Migrante, in my opinion, was the most emotional
of all we have done in the past eight years. I believe that it showed
us directly how our actions effect the Mexican people. We heard
stories from the priest who ran the facility. He told us a case about
mothers who had dropped their children off at school and as they were
driving away they were stopped down the street and deported later that
day. What were their children thinking when they finished school and
no one came to pick them up? What will happen to these children? I saw
people from all different walks of life all brought together for the
same reason. Our government deported them.

I met two young men in their early twenties. They each had a wife and a young child back in the states. One gentlemen had gotten a new job in Florida and was one
his way back to California to get his family to move them when his bus
was stopped at a check point and he was deported later that afternoon.
I met another man who had been in the States for over twenty years. He
was deported because his INS card had expired and he didn't make it
down to the office to renew before it did. Back home (in the States)
he had a daughter in college and a son in high school. These men may
never see their families again. I started to feel guilty because
earlier in the week I had been complaining about some family problems
to a friend but I would see my family again in only a few days. I'm
not sure our citizens or our government realizes the serious problem we
have created. By making children born in the US legal citizens, and
not their parents, we create a problem when their parents are deported.
When their fathers are deported we created single parent households
with lower standards of living. That leads many children to join gangs
and involves themselves in lives of crime to support themselves. When
both parents are deported we just overload our already over crowded
system with more children. Our government needs to know the
repercussions of destroying the family system, So do our family and
friends. I tried telling a friend about it and she said so how is this
my problem? What should we do about it then? A suggestion is to write
our congressmen to tell them about the situation and how they should
work to protect families and keep them together.


  1. The issue of separating families, citizenship, and deportation is something our group did not experience first-hand during the years I participated in Tijuana. This must have been akin to the first time we witnessed the border crossing. I can only imagine the emotion it must have evoked. With any luck, there will be a solution on the horizon for these people and families. It is an issue that I think not many Americans realize is present. Thank you for speaking so candidly about it. We all have our family problems, but its true; they don't really compare with these.

    -Andrea T.

  2. I found some inconsistency with the renewal of green card story. My family and I went through a renewal of green cards. The process is not complicated and allows enough time to complete processing. You are notified several months in advance of the expiry and the actions you must take. As far as I remember it only required being re-fingerprinted upon making an appointment at a local processing office. Every green card holder upon receiving his/hers documents is provided with rules and restrictions governing his stay in the USA. If you truly want to build your life here all you need to do is apply for citizenship. As to your comment regarding legalizing residency of parents with children born in the US ... it doesn't only apply to Mexican minority. Other nationalities face the same problem, but first you have to ask yourself a question ... On what grounds did the parents cross the US border? if you start handing out residency cards to everyone based on the pure fact that their child was born in the USA you are creating a huge security gap in the system. Additionally who will be responsible for financing such an endeavor? The US provides multiple programs which allow immigration for an entire family. My family and I went through this process, and yes it was time consuming but we didn't knowingly jeopardize welfare of our children for the sake of immigrating. Happiness of a family is not solely based on material means but if it becomes the main driver the family bonds won't withstand the test of hardship which most immigrants face. Immigration is a difficult and a stressful process, it test the integrity of your family; however, as a parent you have a duty to your children and your spouse to make sound and educated decisions. The stories that you describe reflect an absolute lack of education of the local population as to the ramifications of their risky decisions. As a practicing Catholic I support charity but charity alone does not solve the fundamental problem of ignorance. More good and justice would be accomplished by providing education and means to better the day to day life than just applying band aid solution of providing temporary shelters which won't be able to exist if the funds supporting them dry out.