Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -MLK
I know what it’s like to have my child taken away from me. I know that dreadful feeling of not knowing if my child is safe, hurting or alive. I also know what it feels like to have your child taken from you based on discrimination.
I was sixteen years old when I gave birth to my son, Nicholas. I know what you’re thinking; teenager, young single mom with no job, hasn’t finished school, and is still a kid herself having a kid—so what would she know about being a mother? At first, I would say, you’re right to think that; I agree. I didn’t know anything about being a mother. Let me rephrase that; I thought I didn’t know anything about being a mother.
Nevertheless, my age, my emotionally unstable state and everything else was stacked up against me regarding people believing I could be a good mom.
I admit I was scared and was way too worried about what other people might think. I felt the stone eyes of judgment piercing at me at every corner and some days I felt completely lonely. But I never imagined having my son taken away from me for seven long inconsolable months by one of my own family members. I was taken advantage of in the worst way, drugged, thought to believe, because of who I appeared to be and my age at the time, I didn’t deserve to have Nicholas. I got called many names, a whore, liar, reckless, dangerous, crazy, incapable, worthless, undeserving, and so much more.
That family member did not even know the real me, just accused me of falling under the stereotype of what he thought a teenage mother would be. But that didn’t change the fact that I had to go through a despairing custody battle with a court system that nearly perceived me in the same way as that family member did.
I spent many nights looking at an empty crib in a constant state of sadness, feeling like I could never sleep, but then when my body and mind finally gave in to the inevitable rest and I awoke the next day I never wanted to get up again. My heart couldn’t possibly break any more—I was missing my son and feeling powerless of not being able to protect him.
I wasn’t given a chance to prove that I could be a good mom; that basic human right every mother should have had been taken away from me before my son and I even had a chance. That time with him I will never get back.
I missed his first Christmas, his first steps, his first words, his first everything and it nearly killed me. At a time when a child really needs their mother, I was absent and forcibly so from his life.
What does that say about our own judicial system here in America, when we lack the empathy and compassion for these immigrants and their children? What does that say when we lock up their kids in cages and separate them from their parents? Not all laws are just.
To judge all immigrants is inconceivable and accuse them of being criminals, drug lords, rapists, terrorists, etc. when most them are extremely good-hearted and desire to do what any parent wishes to do—give their kids a better life. They are not animals; they are people with family values, morals, customs and feelings, not much different from us who live in the United States.
Our lives are not more meaningful than theirs, nor are we better and more deserving. Our HUMANITY should apprise to us that “we are all created equal,” a fact written in our very own Declaration of Independence.
These people aren’t given the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of citizenship and our help. Instead they have been charged as guilty before proven innocent and if our politicians and opposing citizens love this country so much then they would know that notion goes against everything our court of law stands for. Being the daughter of an immigrant mother, I know all too well that most of these immigrants run to our borders because their only other option is life-threatening, and the circumstances will leave their children enslaved, brainwashed or dead.
Most of these “illegal immigrants” come here to participate in the American dream, to thrive, be happy, live morally and just simply keep their children safe. Our own founding fathers came to this land as immigrants (in which we all are descendants from unless we are Native American) to escape monarchy and tyranny.
They wished to be a part of a country that stood for far more than greed and selfish tendencies—a country forged by alliances and born on the notion of “freedom and justice for all.”
I got my son back and I fought like hell to make that happen. But also, I was lucky, I had my amazing mother fighting with me every step of the way. I had guardian ad litem appointed to the safety and well-being of my son who was sincerely concerned and thoroughly made sure he would be in placed in the best care regardless of my age.
Those immigrants haven’t been so lucky. I had people fighting for me, and most importantly fighting for my child. If we are to call ourselves true Americans and great politicians of the people, then we need to put all people and all humanity first and foremost. We need to right this wrong and drastically change the way we think. Otherwise, how many more children must suffer before we realize what justice and equality really are?