Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deportation breaks up families

Fr. Hoyos will be offering a prayer at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast tomorrow morning. If the prayer needs a central message, it should be this: Deportation breaks up families and this is contrary to the will of God. We need to pray for our government leaders to stop breaking up our homes. Now. It is no coincidence that 53% of Latinas get pregnant before the age of 20. That is what happens when parents are not in the home, whether due to deportation or due to having to work so many jobs to survive that they cannot be with their children. Public prayer needs to connect the dots and not act like public policy has nothing to do with private morality. I know Fr. Hoyos and I trust the Holy Spirit will put the words into his mouth and heart that President Obama needs to hear.

In that spirit, I would like to share the following article from today's Miami Herald:


Sweetwater rally seeks to halt deportation of parents/ Immigration advocates rallied in support of the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants

By Brittany Levine
Miami Herald
June 18, 2009

Ronald Soza, of Margate, went on a hunger strike in January in hopes that it would bring home his mother -- an illegal immigrant who was deported to Nicaragua last year.

On Wednesday he wished for the same thing, this time as he cut his 10th birthday cake at an immigration rally in Sweetwater.


Ronald and about 60 children wearing green signs that said "Don't leave me alone" called on President Barack Obama to halt the deportation of illegal immigrants who have U.S.-born children.

"I think it's really unfair," said Ronald, whose father may also be deported. "They take our parents away like they're criminals."

Ronald now lives in Margate with his aunt and older sister.


The rally, sponsored by the immigration advocacy group American Fraternity, focused on a lawsuit filed against Obama in January on behalf of about 150 children of deported parents.

The suit, set to go to trial in August, was originally brought against the Bush administration but was dismissed.

Alfonso Olviedo, the children's attorney, said the case would most likely be dismissed again, with the court citing that it is an inappropriate forum.

Even if it is dismissed, Nora Sandigo, chief executive officer of American Fraternity, said her group will continue to fight.

Children with deported parents suffer emotional consequences often leading to bad grades, drug abuse and teen pregnancy, she said.

The parents illegally came to the U.S. before 1996 immigration changes made it more difficult for them to become legal residents, Olviedo said. Prior to changes, parents could become residents if they had been here for seven years, had good moral character, and proved their children would suffer hardship.

Cecia, 13, Ronald's sister, said she has been attending rallies since her mother was deported because she doesn't want other children to lose their mothers.

Many at the rally said they think the case has a chance because Obama has been vocal about immigration policy changes.

So far, the only White House correspondence has been a standard thank you letter.

PHOTOS: Ronald and Cecia Soza during the January hunger strike; Back in Nicaragua, their deported mother, Marisela Vallejos de Soza, shows her children's photos, and grieves her separation from them on the shoulder of her sister Yamileth.

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