Blog Archive

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Children of migrants make plea, protest in Washington

By Alfonso Chardy
The Miami Herald
Posted on Fri, Jun. 25, 2010

It started out as a news conference by children to announce their participation in a planned demonstration in front of the White House next month to demand a halt to deportations of undocumented immigrants.

But the press briefing quickly turned into a highly emotional event with several children breaking down in tears as they described how their parents had been detained, deported or continued to live in fear of imminent immigration detention.

The more than two dozen children who gathered Thursday at the home of immigration activist Nora Sándigo in South Miami-Dade plan to travel to Washington to take part in a July 28 ``kids demonstration'' in front of the White House to demand that President Barack Obama sign an executive order suspending deportations of undocumented immigrants.

``I want to tell President Obama to leave my family alone, to not touch my family, to not detain my father or mother,'' said a 7-year-old girl who identified herself only as Ashley. Then as a reporter asked what she would tell Obama, Ashley began crying inconsolably in front of the television cameras.

One child who put on a brave face was Nicole Calvo, whose Costa Rican father was detained by immigration authorities at one point.

``We are here at the children's news conference to ask President Obama to sign an executive order to halt all the immigration raids and deportations,'' said Nicole, 13. She said she feared her Colombian mother, who cleans houses for a living, could be deported.

The children's parents come from different Latin American countries. Some have been deported; others have been detained by immigration officials. A few were in hiding, fleeing deportation orders, and still others had yet to be discovered.

The children's news conference came as rumors swirl in Washington that Obama may be preparing an executive order suspending deportations of undocumented immigrants who have no criminal records.

Eight Republican senators sent a letter to Obama on Monday asking for confirmation that the White House is planning to defer deportations or grant parole to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Some undocumented parents plan to accompany the children to the march in Washington.