It’s Time to Start Prioritizing Families In Our Immigration System

Right now, hundreds of thousands of families are being ripped apart, or kept apart, due to egregious immigration policies that are being implemented by the Trump administration.  The Administration’s enforcement’s’ only approach to immigration, coupled with policies such as the “Muslim Ban”, which seeks to prevent immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S., and “extreme vetting” of potential immigrants and refugee are resulting in families being separated by either deportations or lack of visas available to come to the U.S.

Take, for example, Lourdes Bautista, a mother of three from Ann Arbor who is now facing deportation after being in the U.S. for 20 years.  I cannot imagine the horror her teenage children are facing.  Their father was recently deported, and now their mother may be too, leaving them with an unbearable choice – either remain here as orphans or leave their home for a country they’ve never lived in.

Another example is Sahar Alghnimi.  Sahar, a woman from Syria, was coming to the U.S. to care for her mother suffering from cancer.  Even though she had a temporary visitor’s visa, because of the Muslim Ban, she was denied entry into the country.  It would be devastating to be separated from your mother as she is battling cancer, unable to care for her.  These women and their families are suffering because of immigration policies that do not reflect our values or our humanity.

As mothers, we know all too well the importance and advantage of having a strong family support system when raising our children.  I am incredibly blessed to have a large and supportive extended family around me that is truly my “village” when it comes to raising my kids.  As a working mom of three, I honestly couldn’t survive without the help of many people around me, least of all my parents.   But the Administration’s immigration policies disregard this reality.  They are not only unpatriotic, but they are anti-family.  They ignore imperative family structures that enable both parents and children to flourish.   It’s time that we prioritize families when creating public policies, including immigration.


Nadia Tonova

Mothering Justice member

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