SOMOS/WE ARE Mothers in the Struggle to Keep Our Families Together
May 7, 2010
Mrs. Michelle Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mrs. Obama:
Happy Mother's Day!
WE ARE mothers who greatly contribute to the social fabric in society as the builders and nurturers of society’s foundation: the family. WE ARE mothers who, like you, deeply love our children. WE ARE children who, like your own, need the loving care and comfort of their mothers. WE ARE allies and friends, U.S. citizens, who stand in solidarity with immigrant families.
On this Mother’s Day, we write to respectfully beseech your solidarity and compassion as a mother.
Our communities are under siege. Local and state laws, such as the one recently approved by the Arizona State Legislature institutionalizing racial profiling, criminalize our people. Our communities are terrorized by immigration officers who detain our people on the streets, storm and raid our places of work and even our private homes in the early hours of the morning to haul away our people simply because they do not have a piece of paper that can guarantee them what is every human being’s right: the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
It is tragic to see the return of Jim Crow-like laws and practices under President Obama’s Administration. He promised change during his campaign, but this is not the kind of change we were expecting.
During your recent visit to Mexico City you encouraged young people to dream. Yet as you also probably learned during your trip, for most people in Mexico and Latin America, achieving our dreams too often means having to embark on perilous journeys to the United States because prevailing economic and social policies in our countries of origin deny most citizens the opportunities to have a dignified life for ourselves and our children.
Once in this country, we work hard to contribute to its economic, social and cultural wealth. Yet, the U.S. immigration system denies us full membership in the country we have adopted and instead persecutes us and tears our families apart. Deportations have reached record levels under President Obama’s Administration. For each person deported, there are young children left behind who are denied the right to be cared for by their parents. For each person deported, there are mothers who bear the suffering of not knowing when they will ever see their adult children again.
In the absence of positive movement by the U.S. Congress to enact the kind of immigration reform that reflects our worth as human beings and as full contributors to U.S. society, President Obama has the executive discretion to direct Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to put an immediate halt to raids and deportations. We believe it is only logical and humane to not rely on a law everyone agrees is broken to tear families apart and destabilize and terrorize communities.
It is in President Obama’s hands to put an end to our deep suffering and sorrow. We thank you for your solidarity and compassion. We thank you for your support in our struggle to put an end to traids and deportations and keep our families together.