The mother of a 3-year-old girl, 24-year-old Tania Velasquez, has been separated from her child for over a year. Tania was stopped in San Diego last year with her husband, who was arrested for drug possession. Their daughter was taken away and has been staying with a friend. Tania was coerced into pleading guilty, even though she has never taken drugs, and sent to an immigrant detention center. After 6 months she was deported back to Mexico, without her daughter.
The separation of children from their parents is not uncommon for immigrants in the United States. Nearly one in four immigrants deported from the United States between July 2010 and September 2012 has a child who is a U.S. citizen. In that two-year period the US deportation process separated over 200,000 people from their children. Parents often have limited documentation to prove that they are their child’s parents, and visitation rights are rare unless both parent and child live close to the border. The ACLU has a pending lawsuit but mothers and fathers are still being separated from their children every day.
Jill Replogle, “Deported Parents Face Hurdles To Reunite With U.S. Citizen Children,” KPBS Public Broadcasting, June 10, 2013, http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/10/deported-parents-face-hurdles-reunite-us-citizen-c/.
Megan Burke, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy Pico, “ACLU Class Action Suit Alleges Threats, Coercion By Border Patrol,” Fronteras, June 4, 2013, http://www.fronterasdesk.org/news/2013/jun/04/aclu-class-action-suit-alleges-threats-coersion-bo/.
Student Researcher: Samantha Cowley (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)