Mother’s Day Lessons

by Camila Gallardo and Kathy Mimberg, Communications Department, NCLR

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are few bonds stronger than motherhood.  Put two Moms in a room (or on a blog!) and it will take about a minute for them to start talking about the little people their lives revolve around as if they had known each other for years.  Up all night comforting a sick, crying baby?  Check.  Frantically turning an old pillowcase into a costume for the next day’s school play/talent show/Halloween party?  Been there, done that.  Prying a misspelled homemade Mother’s Day card trailing glitter and glue off of loving sticky little fingers?  Oh, yes, that’s the best!

We share a common nightmare, too:  being separated involuntarily from our children.  Children need their mothers.  Period.  What kind of nation are we to allow any policies AT ALL that go against this basic, simple premise of a civilized society?  Yet, mothers are separated from their children every year when they are deported from the U.S. in compliance with our broken immigration system.  According to the Center for American Progress, more than 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported in the first six months of 2011 alone.

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Laws that result in children being separated from their mothers are cruel, and the stories we hear at NCLR about families being torn apart are heartbreaking and infuriating.

Photo: Mamasday.org
Photo: Mamasday.org

Consider this traumatic story from NCLR’s landmark report “Paying the Price:  The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children,” which documents the aftermath of immigration raids on workplaces in several U.S. towns including New Bedford, Mass., where the mother of this child was detained by immigration officials:

A seven-month-old baby who was being breastfed was left in the care of a relative babysitter. The infant was unaccustomed to any other feeding method and refused cow’s milk, then had to be rushed to the hospital due to dehydration on the night of the raid. The mother was detained for a few days before finally being released to continue to care for her son.

Who benefits from these inhumane deportation policies?  When you consider that most children left behind when their parents are deported are U.S. citizens, this policy is not just devastating for families, but also detrimental to our society.  Moms are the quiet heroes of our communities – motherhood is not a job for the lazy or the faint of heart.  We wipe skinned knees, go over multiplication tables, get kids to eat their vegetables, volunteer in classrooms, and most important, teach children self-discipline and empathy for others.   While we recognize that relatives, teachers and friends are important in shaping the future generation, no one can take a mother’s place.

So, on Mother’s Day, let’s stop for a minute and think about what we learned from our mothers.  Through words and actions, Moms reinforce daily the key lessons of life:  Be kind.  Love one another.  Stick together.  Treat others how you want them to treat you.

girl with mom

How does our current immigration policy reflect these lessons?   For those of you who might think it’s OK for other people’s mothers to be deported, would your Mom be proud of you for supporting that policy?

Moms know that anything we can accomplish separately will be even greater when we do it together.  Sign up to receive immigration updates from NCLR so we can keep you informed about how to do your part for immigration reform. We need all the mothers we can get so our families, neighborhoods, communities and our nation will have a strong and bright future.

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