Immigrant Mothers Call for Respect from the Trump Administration

Aura Hernández with her son Daniel, 10, and her 16-month-old daughter. (Photo via El Diario)

As everyone celebrated Mother­’s Day, many women in New York and across the country endured the agony of living with the looming uncertainty of deportation, a situation that has hit the most vulnerable the hardest since the Trump administration took office.

On Sunday, despite the stubborn rain and chilly temperatures, immigrant and civil rights advocates staged a demonstration in Manhattan alongside community activists to demand the release of Aura Hernández and all the other mothers who have taken shelter in sanctuaries all over the United States.

The theme of the Mother’s Day march in New York and the rest of the nation was to ask President Trump to halt family separation.

Hernández, an undocumented mother from Guatemala who – upon her imminent deportation – took shelter at the Fourth Universalist Society church with her two children, called on New Yorkers to close ranks against the president’s immigration policies.

“The worst part is that as time goes by, I see that immigration authorities­ do not care. They turn a deaf ear to our suffering, not just ours as adults but also that of the children, who are the most affected,” said Hernández to the media when the march reached the church.

Hernández has lived in this sanctuary church since March 2018 with her son Daniel, 10, and her 16-month-old daughter.

“My son Daniel is the most affected. He is always sad, nervous. He tells me that he is scared that we may not make it out of this church,” said a saddened Hernández, adding that, while the church is protecting her from deportation for the time being, in practice it is a prison, as she is unable to live freely with her family.

Another Guatemalan mother, Amanda Morales-Guerra, has lived in the Holyrood Church in Washington Heights for nine months.

Drama across the country

The article continues with reporting from EFE:

For Guatemalan Juana Luz Tobar-Ortega, 46, Mother’s Day was yet another lonely day at the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has been confined in the house of worship for a year.

“This is the bathroom, this is my shower, here is my kitchen. I like to cook for myself and for the people who visit me,” she said humbly to a reporter to whom she offered a tour of her shelter.

The holiday was no different for Rosa del Carmen Ortez-Cruz, a 48-year-old mother from Honduras who has spent the last month seeking refuge in the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill, also in North Carolina.

Ortez-Cruz has four children: one is 19 and in college, and the other three minors are living with their father’s family in Greensboro. The youngest is 7 years old.

“When I see someone bring their kids here, I tell myself: ‘It’s so beautiful to be able to bring your children here,’” said Ortez-Cruz, who has multiple knife scars on her back, arm and stomach area. She would fear for her life if she returned to Honduras. Her asylum application was denied, and she is currently waiting for the results of her appeal at the Chapel Hill church thanks to the assistance of a number of volunteers.

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The cases of both women were reported by WUNC 91.5 on public radio.

Meanwhile, Ugandan immigrant Deborah Jane, 42, requested asylum in the United States after being the victim of an acid attack in her home country in 2014. “After what happened, I knew it was time to get out of Uganda,” she said in a sorrowful tone. Since then, she has been unable to see her four children.

“They were supposed to come here in 2017 but, because Trump’s government decided to cancel reunification for refugees, I still haven’t been able to be with them,” Jane told reporters over the phone. She suffered burns on 50 percent of her body.

“Had I known, I would not have come here,” she lamented, on the occasion of Mother’s Day.

Jane, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, said: “This is my case and the case of thousands of mothers in the same situation.”

In late December, a Seattle judge issued an order that could reunite families. However, after nearly five months, Jane has yet to receive an update on her case.

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