About a month ago, a Perris mother was walking to pick up her children from school when border patrol agents stopped her. The woman was later deported, leaving her eight children to stay with their aunt.
"All I know is my mom got deported and that I'm alone with my two sisters," the 14-year-old boy said.
The oldest of the eight children says her mother didn't have a criminal record, and the topic of deportation never even came up in their home.
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"We’d been here for many years, we never thought that would happen to us," the 19-year-old said.
Criminal record or not, the possible risk of deportation needs to be discussed, according to Luz Gallegos, TODEC Community Programs Manager.
"If the mother would have known her rights and been prepared, this family could have been safe and could continue being together right now," Gallegos said.
Since the youngest of the American-born children has Down Syndrome, their mother could have applied for special immigration relief. Now, however, the eight children are left with the task of reuniting with their mother through an already complex immigration system.
"I feel like it's not fair because we're all human beings," the 14-year-old said. "We deserve the same rights."