We have all heard the phrase that a parent will do anything for their child. However, for some of the 4.1 million Mexican women living undocumented in the United States, this may mean leaving their child behind while they illegally enter the United States to become a domestic worker. This population of women wants so much to provide for their family that they are willing to leave their children in order to improve the circumstances for them. However, no parent should be forced to make this choice.
There is a huge political debate on both sides of the aisle as whether family reunification should be one of the main goals of immigration laws. While both the Democratic and Republican parties are hesitant to say anything that devalues the importance of family reunification, neither side is willing to make it the forefront of their immigration platform. However, this is a really important issue and should be addressed more seriously by both sides.
Often time these Mexican mothers are forced through tough economic, as well as social and political, issues to make the hard choice to leave their families behind. ‘“I came here because I didn’t have enough to feed my kids. I had nowhere to live because I was making so little money,”’ said Gloria Garcia, a 43 year old Mexican mother who was forced to part with her children.
While many of these mothers felt that they had no choice when they chose to immigrate to America, many of the mothers start to wonder, what was the best thing for their children? To stay and be poor but still be there for their children, or leave their children without a mother but have the ability to provide for them economically?
One of the main reasons these mothers regret their immigration is the fact that they left their children under false pretenses. Many mothers tell their children that they will only be gone for a little while. While many mothers believe it themselves, they still often stay in the U.S. more than 10 years. This means that even if they do go back home, or are able to bring their kids to the U.S. they have been separated from their children from a predominant part of their child’s life.
No child should have to live without one of their parents, and no parent should have to make that choice between being there for their child or making sure that their child can eat. In order to stop this, both political parties needs to start treating family reunification as a more important element of the immigration debate. We as a nation need to move towards a unified goal that no parent should ever have to make this hard decision that these mothers are, no matter what side of the border they are from.