Cleveland, OH – A new article by Julia Preston with The Marshall Project follows three Ohio families attempting to navigate life after a loved one’s deportation. In brief, this is what happened:
Seleste Hernandez is now the sole caregiver for her 30-year-old son Juan, barely able to haul his 140-pound frame from his bed to his wheelchair and living with a pinched nerve in her back.
After Esperanza Pacheco was deported to Mexico from the country she had lived in for 23 years, two of her four American daughters attempted suicide, requiring emergency medical care that the uninsured family cannot pay.
Alfredo Ramos’s two American children suffered the hardest loss after he was forced to leave the United States. He was gunned down on a city street in his hometown in Mexico.
It is our duty, as participants in this democracy, to read the entire piece. The experiences of these American families are soul-crushing, and beg the question: what will the next President do to heal families and individuals traumatized by deportation?
Today, the Ohio Immigrant Alliance is launching a petition to the Democratic Party Platform Committee, calling for the inclusion of “return after deportation” in the 2020 platform. The petition reads:
Deportation has devastated so many families in the United States. This problem did not begin in the Trump administration, and it must be addressed in the new administration.
We are calling on the Democratic Party to include return after deportation in the 2020 national platform. This applies to people with families and single individuals: everyone who considers the United States their home.
Reacting to the Marshall Project article about her family and others, Seleste Hernandez said: “I cried so bad reading my story that Julia wrote. Do you think this story will touch other hearts half the way it touched mine? I hope and I pray this information can reach the heads and hearts of this country. The pain is real. The ones left behind go through pure living hell, unable to wrap our heads around the purpose of all this. Ripping a family apart, what good came out of this? Please tell me.”
In a message from the family, Pedro and Seleste Hernandez added: “Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, that this story gets into the hands of someone who can make a difference. Thank you forever and always.”
Lynn Tramonte, Director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance, said: “Pedro is a good man, a good father, a loving husband. Watching him have to walk away from his wife and kids to take that deportation flight, not knowing when or if he would ever see them again, was devastating. I cannot even imagine the strength it must take to pull yourself away from all that you know and love, and walk down that airport corridor. As Seleste said, treating people this way serves no purpose. The Democratic Party must develop a platform for return after deportation and implement it if it wins the election. This is part of the reckoning and healing needed in our society, as we dismantle the culture of division and build systems that support and value all people.”
Follow the Ohio Immigrant Alliance on Twitter @tramontela