East Harlem Against Deportation, at its roots, draws its strength from immigrants, their friends and loved ones, and local community organizations, all of whom daily live out the struggle against our country's broken immigration system. Our movement will include organizing events and a letter-writing campaign throughout Spring and Summer 2009, as well as the formulation of a specific policy agenda to protect undocumented immigrants in New York City and State.
Las raíces de El Barrio Contra La Deportación obtienen sus fuerzas de los inmigrantes, sus amigos y seres queridos, y de organizaciones comunitarias locales. Todos estos viven diariamente la lucha contra el sistema descompuesto de inmigración de este país. Nuestro movimiento incluirá la organización de eventos informativos y una campaña de cartas escritas, por toda la primavera y el verano del 2009. También se formulará una agenda política especifica que protegerá a los inmigrantes indocumentados de la ciudad y del estado de Nueva York.

EHAD Final Policy Report

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Struggle to Keep Families Together, While Another Battle Wages to Tear Them Apart

We are deporting U.S. citizens.
- Congressman Jose E. Serrano, East Harlem Against Deportation Press Conference

New American Media, a national collaboration and advocate of more than 2,000 ethnic news organizations, reports on the growing number and proportion of women in the world migrant population. The recent NAM poll interviewed 1,002 female immigrants from Latin American, Asian, African, and Arabic countries, finding that women tend to immigrate as wives and mothers and tirelessly devote their resources to keep family structures intact. As commentators Sandy Close and Richard Rodriguez write, "Today, as women have “left” the village, they have also brought the village with them. In their new city, they are the ones who are keeping the family intact – acting as the public voice and face of the family, ensuring the health and education of the children and their entrance into the new society."

The poll shows that 41% of Latin American interviewees are concerned that immigration authorities would tear apart their communities, and that an overwhelming majority of women (of all ethnic groups interviewed, with the exception of Filipino women) would bring their U.S.-born children with them if they were ever deported. These numbers and narratives speak to the fuzzy line between legal and illegal, and to the incredible sacrifices made by mothers that are sometimes swallowed up by the broken system of U.S. immigration.

For sixteen-year-old Ana Leiva of Palm Springs, this broken system had walked into her life as a living nightmare. Her mother and aunt were taken away in the middle of the night for being undocumented immigrants, thus forcing on her the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings while attending high school. Ana's story is but one of the many chilling instances of detained undocumented mothers and the children left behind:

No, it's not that simple... I might not understand about politics or everything that's going on, but it's not that simple. There [are] families that are being split up, little kids are being left without their parents, their mom.

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