Bringing Separated Families Together

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

One of the great tragedies of the current immigration system is that families who have one parent who is undocumented and unable to attain legal status may eventually be deported even though they have children born and raised in the United States and a spouse who is a U.S. citizen. Those undocumented women with American-born children who have been deported (mostly to Mexico), have a hard to impossible time being able to see their families and children. This is why an organization called DREAMers’ Moms works to bring such separated families to the U.S.-Mexico border. Even if only a temporary solution, it at least helps to reunite separated families for a few days, or a matter of hours. These separated families meet primarily in Friendship Park. U.S. immigration only allows five families to meet at any one time for “security reasons.” Like just about everything else with the U.S.-Mexico border, it is fenced in. Thus the park itself is cut by the U.S. border fence. This, to put it mildly, makes for an awkward meeting point of separated family members.

I always find it sad that somehow security seems to trump (no pun intended) the priority over the sake of preserving families. Even at a meeting point for separated families, the border is almost like a Berlin Wall—causing the separation of people between the United States and Mexico. Another organization, Friends for Friendship Park, is trying to change this so that there will be unrestricted access for separated families and friends to meet. If this was left up to local officials and people between San Diego and Tijuana (where Friendship Park is located between the two), then this problem can be more easily resolved. But the problem lies with the politicians in Washington, D.C., who seem to have a more paranoid and out-of-touch with reality sense of what goes on between the U.S.-Mexico border. It would be far, far better if more than just a few visits between separated families in a virtually walled off border area could be arranged for those who want to be with their loved ones.

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