“I accept that I’m going to be deported. But please help me take my children with me…”
When I first visited immigration detention centers to research medical care, more and more women were telling me that they couldn't find their children. Back then, I understood neither the problem nor the solution. Now I understand both. So we've developed a guide showing parents how to keep their families together through detention and deportation–and I need your help to get this guide to the mothers and fathers who so desperately need it.
Let me explain with a story. I met Marta in Nogales, Mexico. She sobbed as she told me how her daughter cried, “Mommy, no! Mommy, no!” when she was apprehended in her home in the United States by immigration officials.
Marta had no right to a phone call, so she was unable to arrange childcare. Instead, she was taken to an immigration detention center and her children—three of four were American citizens—were placed into the child welfare system.
Unable to meet in person with her own attorney, the child welfare case worker or anyone involved in her custody case, Marta struggled to navigate the complex child welfare system. Her children were split among different foster homes. She desperately wanted them back, but she could not meaningfully participate in the legal proceedings. Her children couldn't visit her, and she only spoke with them on the phone a handful of times.
Ultimately, Marta was deported while her child welfare case was still pending. Despite her efforts, her parental rights were terminated. She will never see her children again.
The WRC's guide is almost ready, and its potential is tremendous. It explains parental rights, and tells parents exactly what they must do to reunite with their children when their immigration case is over. Because most parents have no legal assistance, they urgently need this guide.
The Department of Homeland Security has promised to make the guide available to every person in immigration detention—in English or Spanish—once it is printed.
But we need your help to get over the last hurdle before we can get the guide into the hands of parents: design and printing.
The project has been accepted by Catapult, a crowd-funding organization that raises money for women’s and children’s projects, and we need you to help us reach our fundraising goal: $15,000. That will pay for a designer who specializes in educational resources. It will pay for print and electronic publication in English and Spanish.
You can access our project on Catapult here.
I would be so grateful for any support you can give. Just $20 pays for a toolkit to help a mother protect her parental rights. By sharing this with friends and family, you’re getting this guide that much closer to reality.
I hope you will agree with me that no mother deserves to lose custody of her children without a fair day in court—and I hope that you will help me to stop this injustice.
Thank you for your generosity.