Imagine if your dad was suddenly arrested

This story was shared with us by Keeping Families Together.

I want to tell you a little bit about how our current immigration laws have affected me and my family. In 2010, my dad was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy and taken into custody. He was charged with immigration violations that occurred in Indiana. However, my dad has never been in Indiana, so they obviously had the wrong person. He was released from custody two days later but in June of 2012 government officials knocked on our door. They asked if they could come in.

Since they did not properly identify themselves, it did not occur to us that they were ICE officers. They asked if someone we had never heard of lived there and asked if they could search the house. Since we had nothing to hide, we let them search. It did not occur to us to ask for a warrant.​ They did not find the person they were looking for and they left.

But later that day, our family went out. As soon as our car pulled onto the main road, it was surrounded by four government cars. They asked my dad to step out of the car so they could ask him some questions. Then, he was taken into custody.

​My father is a hardworking man who has always tried his best to provide for his family. He is a skilled mechanic and he provides a valuable service to people in this community. None of this mattered, unfortunately, because after being detained for a month in various detention centers in the United States, we heard from my dad again. Sadly, he had been deported and sent back to Mexico with no explanation.

​Imagine if suddenly your dad was arrested by law enforcement and taken into custody somewhere, but you had no idea where. Imagine if you had to spend a month worrying, without any contact between you and your dad. That’s the reality that I lived through last summer.

​The problem is that this is just not my reality. It is the reality of 12 million undocumented people who live in the U.S. Our broken immigration system has lead much of the population’s view on immigrants as less than human; it has lead to the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers, and it has lead to the suffering and separation of countless families.