In 2005, a woman in another state was taken into custody by immigration officials. Her immigration detention situation meant that her 7-year old son and infant daughter were being torn from their mother. The events that unfolded drew media attention in Pennsylvania and across the country and resulted in a five-year struggle to reunite the family.

The woman ultimately was deported. When an immigration officer escorted her to the gate of the airplane that would transport her back to her country of origin, she was shocked that her children were nowhere in sight. The officer told her she would be making the journey alone and that her children, who were born in this country, would be staying in the United States.

The woman later said she felt as though she’d rather be dead than leave her children behind; yet, there was nothing she could do about it at the time. An attorney helped her throughout the next five years as she fought to protect her rights as a mother. Finally, she was reunited with her children, who now live with her in Guatemala. The woman says she and her children miss the United States very much and would like to return here to live.

Her son has proof of citizenship but his sister’s documentation to show she was born in the United States is lacking. Those in Pennsylvania who are facing immigration detention problems may benefit from the counsel and support of experienced immigration and naturalization law attorneys. Anyone wishing to discuss a particular issue may request a meeting with an attorney in his or her area.

Source: npr.org, “When Immigration Detention Means Losing Your Kids“, Dec. 8, 2017