Celebrating Mother’s Day
By Aesah Javier, Institute Communications Office
Every year, I always struggle with what to get my mom for mother’s day. I exchange countless emails and text messages with my sister, brainstorming what we think mom would need or like best. Of course, it takes us longer than is reasonable to settle on something that can be both meaningful and that we can have a little laugh about. Like the year my mom got new hardwood floors, we presented her with slippers that doubled as mops. She wears them to this day. The closer to the date we get, the more ridiculous our ideas become until we inevitably buy something practical that can be delivered in two days by Amazon Prime.
Then when the day rolls around, I’m reminded that all my mom wants is to spend time with us and be thanked for all the work that she’s done in raising us. Our favorite aunt is always invited to our Mother’s Day lunches and she is also honored with some flowers and a nice card. At the end of the day, it’s about spending time together and saying those important words to them: Thank you.
I’m lucky that I can spend time with my mom easily, but there are families in this country today who will not be able to spend Mother’s Day together. There are mothers like Orfilia Sagastume Reyes, who faces deportation because when her life was threatened, she fled Guatemala in 1990 for this country without the proper papers. She is trying to get asylum but if her case is not reopened, she will be deported to Guatemala. Her son is 15 years old and an American citizen, and if Orfilia is deported, he will go with her.
Orfilia’s story is heartbreaking and made even more so when I think of the countless other children who might be spending their last Mother’s Day with their mothers in this country or unable to spend it with them at all. As Sister Patricia P. shares in her blog post, Immigration Laws Cause Heartbreaking Situations:
There are 5.5 million children who live in mixed-status family, in which some relatives are legally in the U.S. and others are not. If one of the parents is deported, the effects on the children are difficulty in sleeping and eating, declining academics, crying and speech problems. Because of the absence of one of breadwinners, there is decreased food security and living in crowded quarters.
This Mother’s Day, remember the mothers who are fighting to stay with their children. Help us advocate for immigration reform and keep families together.