COMMUNITY VOICES | Unjust immigration system tears MN families apart

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We are told time and time again that border enforcement must be the top priority in any conversation on immigration reform, regardless of the human and economic costs. We ask, however, what about the safety of aspiring Americans who have been lost in the desert as a consequence of unjust immigration policies?  When will we have an immigration system that honors men, women and children who thirst for liberty? We know  Congress and the President must take immediate action. 

The testimony below is from a local Minnesota family. 

We are desperate to find our mother who disappeared crossing the Mexico-US border ten months ago on March 26, 2013. Her name was Natividad. She was 49 years old.

My name is Oralia. We are a family of 8 siblings, 6 of us live here in Minnesota, two were born in the US over a decade ago. Our mother had lived in the United States for several years, before she went back to Mexico for my wedding.

The journey should have taken two days, but after those days passed and we heard nothing, we called to inquire about her and found out that the “coyote” did not know where she is or what had happened to her. She had been left in the desert after her blood pressure had risen and she could not walk any further.

According to the “coyote,” they had left her in an area that saw heavy traffic from immigration officials. However, when we attempted to contact the Texas prisons and immigration agents, they did not know of anybody matching her description. We tried following up with the US government and our Congressperson, but they could not help because of our citizenship status. We tried following up with the Mexican consulate but we could not answer all their questions. We did not know what she was wearing when she disappeared. We don’t know what happened exactly. We can not even be sure that the “coyote” had left her where they claimed they did. As we kept pushing for answers, the “coyote” then threatened to hurt our family in Mexico unless we stopped pressuring government leaders and others to find our mother.

We cannot give up though. We don’t know what to do next, but we must do something. We know that our family is proof of this unjust immigration system. We also know that we must continue fighting for our mother and our family, to be reunited and to move forward.

This testimony was given to leaders of Asamblea de Derechos Civiles. 

It is imperative that our unjust and oppressive immigration system be made just so that families are no longer torn apart. Please take a moment to call your congressperson and urge them to push for a vote on a just comprehensive immigration reform. You can find their contact information at  http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. You can find the President’s contact information at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call#call

La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles is a statewide, faith-based non-profit organization, which organizes immigrants from predominantly Latino congregations to build power for changes in the immigration system and the underlying political and economic structures behind it.  

If you have information regarding this case or would like to get involved in organizing for a more just immigration system contact: http://www.asamblea-mn.org