Dear Future President,
My name is Paulina Alvarado, and I am a student at STEM Prep High. The United States has become a mixing pot of different cultures over the years, all thanks to immigration. However, not all those who entered have been allowed to stay. Those who fled their country and entered this one illegally have to face deportation. Deportation, the act of forcing individuals who have come into the nation illegally to leave the country by law. Many families have been torn apart by this process.
I have experienced it. When I was about six years old, a family friend was deported. I remember him leaving with my aunt around November. At the time I did not understand why he had to leave. All I knew was that he had to or else, something we would all have to go through a terrible experience. I was young, but I wished to know the reason for which he left. In a way this forced me to mature because after asking repeatedly to my parents I learned the truth . There are many cases where families have been separated by deportation. Yolanda Varona is an example. She lived in San Diego with her family, until she was deported. Yolanda had to leave her children behind with their father. She said, when describing the experience, “It's like waking up from the American dream and discovering a nightmare." However, she has not given up hope; along with other women in similar positions, she founded Dreamer Moms, an organization that aims to aid them in earning the right to came back to their families.
This is not the only issue that deportation causes. Not only are families separated by it but they also live in fear of being deported. About a month after the family friend left, policemen came to our house. I remember being scared and wanting to cry. I thought they had come for us, to take us back to Mexico. My mom, my sister and I were the only ones in the house. My sister and I went to hide in the closet; we were crying. They had come looking for my parents’ friend because they had not received proof that he was in Mexico yet. They searched the house and found my sister and I huddled in the corner of my mom’s closet. I remember there were three policemen that day. They all scared me. Two wanted to take my mom away to be deported but the last one disagreed. He came down on his knees next to me and my sister and told us not to cry, that everything would be ok. In the end,they told us that we had until the end of the year to leave the house or turn in the papers they needed or else they would come for us. We were mortified because if that happened my sister would not be with us since she was the only citizen in the house. We went to ask for help to someone named Mr. Terry. We ended up moving into a duplex close by. It was only my parents, sister and me though, everyone else stayed at the house. I was always really worried at night that they would take my family away. We spent our days in our house but went to sleep at the duplex. In the end, they never came because they got the proof they were looking for. I am glad that nothing happened because I still feel the pain I felt back then when I think back to it.
Many people around the United States have had similar experiences or have had nightmares about it. These people have not committed any major offenses against others. They should be given the opportunity to live peacefully with their families. They came to this country in search for a better life, but instead they are discriminated against simply because they do not have the papers to live here legally. This immediately makes them a threat because if they came here illegally they must be involved in the dark corners of the world.
The President should slow down the deportation because these people deserve the same opportunities as those who entered the United States illegally. They should be given the benefit of the doubt. They are, to quote American law “ innocent until proven guilty”. The top priority of the country is to hunt down those criminals that threaten the everyday lives of the people, not to look for those who may have taken a shortcut to come into the country because they were fleeing their old lives or looking for a way to sustain their families.
Paulina Alvarado Ruiz
In the description for the Documentary Dreamer Mums: Divided by US Deportation by Al Jazeera