"Al tiempo pregunté yo: ¿Padre, donde está Dios?" -- Atahualpa Yupanqui
When I used to be a registered Republican voter and an activist for the GOP, I remember getting approached by Conservative leaders who came to me for advice with regard to "Latino" and "Hispanic" outreach. They painted Conservative Christian faces on in the name of love. They preached boldness in the name of God, and told me, "If God is with us, who can be against us?"
But where are these Conservative Christians when it comes to true outreach and the opportunity they squandered to prove God's love for mankind? Where is their boldness when it comes to their fellow colleagues within the Republican Party? Did their Party masters trump our Creator's message with regard to our neighbor? Why have these Christian Conservatives allowed themselves to be part of destructive forces when they see how families are being forced apart by Republican leaders like Speaker John Boehner when he fails to act on fixing the broken immigration system. The Senate passed immigration reform over one year ago, and the Republican-led House of Representatives continue to stall and do nothing.
I know that my questions will fall on many deaf ears, but it is important to document how Christian Conservative leaders have turned a blind eye during this great immigration struggle. President George W. Bush initially stated there was not an immigration problem when he asked for the Chicano / Tejano / Latino vote during the 2000 election cycle. The September 11 crisis put the immigration issue on the bottom of the agenda -- when it should have been made the first priority -- particularly when it is imperative for Americans to know who lives here and who does not. Bringing out those who have been living in the shadows is key, and the only way we can accomplish that is to provide a means for these people to document themselves for the sake of American national security.
But Christian Conservatives seem to be bold so long as they receive permission from their Republican Party masters. They have allowed the likes of the John Tanton network, FAIR, and Numbers USA to distort the essence of the gospel. What happened to standing on the promises of reaping what we sow? Therefore, wouldn't sowing in the "helping our fellow man" department during crisis situations allow for Americans a healthy harvest?
When will Christian Conservatives make a bold stance against the poisonous and cancerous bigotry that has been allowed by the Republican National Committee and Chairman Reince Priebus?
And since this message will fall on deaf ears to those who are stiff-necked, yet proclaim to be for keeping families together, perhaps a real live psychosocial assessment might shed light to the stubborn on how the broken immigration is affecting millions of kids and families. Perhaps with this assessment they will see how immigrants volunteer to help Americans in natural disasters because it is about a woman who is struggling to be self-sufficient and is doing her best to deal with the bad cards dealt to her. The mom explains how a father figure being forced apart from her family has become disastrous.
Perhaps, one or two Christian Republicans will read this and feel compelled to do what Jesus did when Christ defended a woman from getting stoned to death and said: "Those without sin cast the first stone" when their Republican leaders choose to support policies with an "iron fist" mentality. Will one or two Christian bold leaders come forward? Time will tell.
[Names confidential to protect identity.]
Reason for evaluation:
To assess how ______ family is being affected by his current detention and how his family would benefit if he was to be released on Humanitarian Grounds. “Family” and their children were interviewed. “Father” was interviewed via telephone as he is currently being detained in an immigration detention facility.
Mr. ____ was born in the Dominican Republic. In 1996 at the age of sixteen, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and his older sister. In the United States, he was able to obtain his high school diploma and worked for ____ fulltime. In addition, Mr. _____ was a volunteer fireman as he aspired to become a fulltime fireman. During his young adulthood, Mr. ___ lived with his Mom.
Prior to meeting Ms. _____ , Mr. _____ was involved in a previous relationship. That relationship did not last. Nevertheless, his previous relationship produced a child. Mr. ____'s 12 year-old son currently lives with his Mom in Florida.
Ms. ____ was previously married in 2001 and separated in 2004. Ms. ____ reported that her ex-husband was verbally and physically aggressive towards her. Her ex-husband was an NYPD police officer and sometimes he would leave his gun on the dinner table. Ms. ____ would ask him not to leave the gun in plain sight, especially with children in the house. However, he would become physically aggressive. Ms. ____ said, “One time he elbowed me and busted by eardrum.” She decided to leave her ex-husband out of fear for her and her children’s safety.
Even with the trauma and relationship difficulties she has experienced, Ms. ____ graduated high school and is pursuing a Criminal Justice Degree from Berkley College. She was also working in a program that helped formerly incarcerated individual re-adjust to society following their release from prison. However, Mr. _____’s detention by immigration officials in November 2013 caused Ms. ____ to take a lot of time from work to be able to attend court hearings and take care of her children. Taking time off from work caused Ms. ____ to lose her job in January 2014.
Mr. _____ and Ms. ____’s relationship has produced one child. In addition, Ms. ____ has custody of her two children from her previous marriage. It should be noted that Mr. _____ has raised his stepsons as his own children. Mr. _____ and Ms. ____ have lived together since May 2011. However, his immigration detention since November 2013 has created a financial and emotional hardship on his family.
Due to Ms. ____ taking time off to attend Mr. _____’ court hearings and not having daycare (since his detainment), she had to miss time from work. As a result, she was laid off in January 2014. As a result of her losing her job, she has had difficulties paying her rent. In February 2014, just a month after losing her job, she and her children were evicted from their apartment. Ms. ____ is currently renting another apartment and is on a month to month lease. Ms. ____ continues to struggle financially and emotionally and fears that she may be evicted again at any moment.
Ms. ____ said, “I don’t know what I will do, I have no family left. I have nowhere to go (if she is evicted).” Ms. ____ said that all three of her children have been affected by Mr. _____ not being home. Their son, has become angry and aggressive towards Mom. In addition, "son"has become oppositional, defiant and his grades have dropped. Furthermore, Son No. 1 has become aggressive and even has begun bullying other students in school. Ms. ____ gets frequent phone calls from school informing her of Son No. 1’s disruptive behavior.
It should be noted that "son"and Son No. 1 see Mr. _____ as their father, not their stepdad. Prior to his detention in November 2013, Mr. _____ used to take "son"and Son No. 1 fishing and played sports with them. Ms. ____ said, “He (Mr. _____) taught them how to play sports, ride a bike and use a skateboard. I can’t do any of those things. So they think that I am boring.” It should be noted that "son"and Son No. 1’s biological father is not involved in their lives. Furthermore, their biological father has not been paying child support since February 2014.
Mr. _____ has been detained in an immigration detention center since November 2013. Prior to his detainment, he was working at a Western Beef Supermarket in the evenings. During the day while Ms. ____ was at work, he would take Son No. 1 and "son"to school and take care of . In the afternoons, Mr. _____ would pick Son No. 1 and "son"up from school. Then he would make them their meal and help them with their homework. As a result, Ms. ____ reported that her three boys are actually closer to Mr. _____ than they are to her.
Mr. _____ reported feeling powerless and depressed about not being able to take care of his family due to his current immigration status. Mr. _____ said, “I don’t want to lose my family. I miss them so much.” Ms. ____ added that Mr. _____ often cries when they speak on the phone. She said, “He is a good man, we don’t fight and he takes good care of us.” Mr. _____ added, “I know I have made mistakes in life and I am truly sorry and remorseful. I simply would like to come home to help her (Ms. ____) and our children.”
Mr. _____’s Volunteering Services To His Community
It should be strongly noted that not only is Mr. _____ a family man, he also likes to help his community. In the past, he volunteered for two years for the New York City Fire Department. In addition, During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there was a lot of destruction, loss and chaos in Staten Island, New York. Through the Kiwanis Club of Staten Island, Mr. _____ and Ms. ____ volunteered their time helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Mr. _____ and Ms. ____ volunteered serving meals and distributing supplies to displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy. Even after Ms. ____ went into premature labor and gave birth to , Mr. _____ continued volunteering day and night.
Ms. _________ _________
Due to not having daycare services and little to no support from family or friends, Ms. ____ has no choice but to remain a stay at home Mom. Her weekly $405 unemployment is currently the only household income and what is keeping her family from being homeless. However, Ms. ____ only has 5 more months of unemployment benefits. Without Mr. _____’s financial and emotional support and having to raise three children, it appears that Ms. ____ will not be capable of meeting her family’s expenses.
The following are some of the family’s monthly expenses ;
• Rent -$1200
• Groceries -$200 out of pocket (does receive $420 in food stamps)
• Cable - $140
• Phones-$176 Family Plan
• Car Insurance - $136
• Gasoline - $200
• Gas - $68
• School supplies, clothes
Financial Impact Mr. _____’s Immigration Status Is Having On His Family
Ms. ____ is currently struggling emotionally and financially to take care of her children. She has experienced numerous traumatic events in the last 7 months. First, in November 2013, her boyfriend (Mr. _____) was detained, then in January 2014 she lost her job and a month later she and her children were evicted from their apartment. Losing her job and being evicted (not being able to pay rent) is a direct result of losing her boyfriend and his financial help due to his detainment.
Prior to Mr. _____’ detention in November 2013, the family’s combined monthly income was about $4000. Currently, due to the loss of Mr. _____’s income and Ms. ____ losing her employment, the family is barely surviving on her weekly $405 unemployment benefits. Ms. ____ constantly worries about what will happen to her family once her unemployment benefits run out in 5 months. In addition, her ex-husband has not paid child support since January 2014. Mrs. _________ said that she cannot secure employment until she gets daycare for her children. But in order to pay for daycare, she needs a job. Mrs. _________ feels that she cannot afford to hire a babysitter to take care of her three children.
In addition, since Mr. _____’s detainment, Ms. ____ had no choice but to apply for food stamps benefits ($420 monthly). Furthermore, she had to put the pursuit of her BA in Criminal Justice on hold due to her financial hardship. Ms. ____ only has two semesters to go to earn her BA in Criminal Justice. Nevertheless, as long as she does not have Mr. _____’s assistance and support, Ms. ____ is very unlikely to finish her college education. Prior to Mr. _____ immigration detainment, Ms. ____ worked from 9 to 5 P.M. and Mr. _____ from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M. So while Ms. ____ was at work, Mr. _____ took care of their children.
Emotional Impact Mr. _____’s Immigration Status Is Having On His Family
Since Mr. _____’s detainment, Ms. ____ reported that she feels “hopeless, depressed and anxious.” Ms. ____ reported having difficulties sleeping at night and constantly worries about being evicted due to her barely being able to pay the monthly rent. In addition, Ms. ____ constantly worries about Mr. _____’s wellbeing and their family’s future if he is deported. It should be noted that Ms. ____ became emotional several times as she discussed her family’s current situation due to Mr. _____’s possible deportation.
It should also be noted that since Mr. _____’s detainment, Ms. ____ is also worried about her safety. She reported that her car has been vandalized. Ms. ____ reported that someone cut the break cable to her car. In addition, her car’s tires were punctured 11 times and the car was keyed from front to back. Mrs. _________ is now afraid to use her car because she does not want to risk her safety and the safety of her children. Ms. ____ said, “If he (Mr. _____) was here, I don’t think anyone would be vandalizing our car. But since they see that I am alone with three children, I’ve become a target without him being here to protect me.”
Mrs. _________ said that Mr. _____’ detainment has affected her three sons. They were used to spending more time with Mr. _____ than her and doing more “fun things” with him. Ms. ____ said, “He is a role model to our kids. He plays baseball with them and takes them fishing.” However, since Mr. _____’s detainment, Ms. ____’s children are no longer playing sports and prefer to simply stay home and play video games.
Ms. ____ also reported that all three of her children have been exhibiting disruptive behavior since Mr. _____’s detainment in November 2013. The two oldest (Mr. _____’ stepsons), Son No. 1 and "son"are exhibiting disruptive behavior at home and in school. While (biological son), has become aggressive towards Mom.
_________ is Mr. _____ and Ms. ____’s biological son. is having a very difficult time adjusting to life without his father. Ms. ____ reported that since Mr. _____’ detainment, has become increasingly aggressive towards Mom. He hits and slaps Mom. In addition, has anger outbursts when he is taken to visit his Dad and is only able to see Mr. _____ through a glass window.
It should be noted that this clinician observed trying to hit Mom and he even bit her a couple of times. In addition, while sitting on his baby chair, constantly threw the toys on the floor that his Mom had given him to play with. Almost as if he was directly rejecting Mom. Ms. ____ reported that is very attached to his father. He used to sleep with Dad every night and Mr. _____ took care of during the day while Mom was at work.
Ms. ____ pointed out that prior to Mr. _____’ detainment, was reaching his developmental milestones ahead of time. However, since his Dad’s immigration detainment has regressed. He speaks less and yells more. Most noticeably, now prefers to crawl instead of walk. It should be noted that Mr. _____’ immigration detainment has torn his family apart. In essence, he and Ms. ____ are still together but physically separated.
It is this clinician’s clinical opinion that is being significantly affected by no longer having his father in his life. When there is a separation, some children react by regressing into an earlier developmental stage as a psychological response due to no longer feeling emotionally secure and missing their parent who is no longer in the household. Perhaps that explains why is now yelling more than speaking and crawling instead of walking.
Other times, some children whose parents are going through a separation become resentful and angry towards the parent that remains in the household (usually the Mom). Due to their limited coping skills, some children view the parent that stays with them as the one who initiated the separation or simply “kicked dad out” of the house. That may explain ’s aggression and defiance towards his Mom.
Son No. 1 is Mr. _____’s stepson and Ms. ____’s biological son. For the last four years, Mr. _____ has raised Son No. 1 as his own biological son. Prior to his immigration detainment, Mr. _____ used to take Son No. 1 and his siblings fishing, to the park or simply played with him at home. Son No. 1 is in the 2nd grade and receives Special Education due to him having a Learning Disability. In addition, Son No. 1 is restless, hyperactive and struggles academically.
Since Mr. _____’s immigration detainment, Son No. 1 has become aggressive, defiant and disruptive. Son No. 1 has is even bullying his peers. As a result, Mom gets almost daily phone calls from school complaining about Son No. 1’s behavioral difficulties. Ms. ____ said that Son No. 1 cries often and always wants to know “when is my stepdad coming home?” It is very likely that Son No. 1’s behavioral difficulties and aggression are his way of expressing his anger, sadness and frustration due to Mr. _____ no longer being in his everyday life.
"son"is Mr. _____’s stepson and Ms. ____’s oldest biological son. Just like Son No. 1, Mr. _____ has raised "son"as his own biological son. "son"is in the sixth grade and is receiving Regular Education. He was an Honor Student. However, since Mr. _____’s immigration detainment, Son’s grades have significantly gone down. In addition, he has grown angry and defiant. "son"loves to go fishing with his stepdad or play baseball. Furthermore, Mr. _____ taught "son"how to ride a skateboard and play basketball.
Since his stepdad’s immigration detainment, "son"has little interest in going out to play. He simply stays home playing video games and has withdrawn from peers in school. "son"said, “He (Mr. _____) was my best friend, he taught me (how) to fish.” "son"is a bright and likeable boy who has dreams of one day becoming a Marine Biologist. His dream of becoming a Marine Biologist may have been inspired by all those times that "son"and Mr. _____ went fishing and were near the ocean and lakes.
Findings and Recommendations:
Mr. _____ and Ms. ____ are a loving and supportive couple who essentially are raising three children. Prior to Mr. _____’s immigration detainment in November 2013 the family was emotionally and financially stable. Mr. _____ and Ms. ____’s relationship has produced one child. Nevertheless, Mr. _____ has raised his two stepsons as his own. Mr. _____ would take the children on day trips to go fishing to the park and play sports.
Mr. _____ and Ms. ____ agreed to have different work schedules, that way one of them was always available for their children. Ms. ____ worked during the day and Mr. _____ at night. In the mornings, it was Mr. _____ who would take “step-son” and "son"to school and took care of during the day while Mrs. _________ was at home. In the afternoon, Mr. _____ went to pick up “step-son” and "son"from school, made them their meals and helped them with their homework. Essentially, Son No. 1, "son"and spent most of their time with Mr. _____ than with Ms. ____. That is part of the reason why they have grown so attached to Mr. _____ and why they are significantly struggling emotionally and behaviorally since he was detained.
Economic Impact That Mr. _____’s Deportation Would Have On His Family
Ms. ____ and her three children have been experiencing a financial hardship since Mr. _____’ immigration detainment in November 2013. Due to not having daycare services or a babysitter, Ms. ____ had to miss days from work and was laid off in January 2014. Her unemployment led to her not having enough money to pay her rent and her family was evicted in February 2014. In addition, Mrs. _________ had to file for unemployment and food stamp benefits. Essentially Mr. _____’s detainment has caused Ms. ____ to lose her job, get evicted and depend more on state sponsored programs (unemployment and food stamp benefits).
Ms. ____’s only source of income is her unemployment benefits ($405 weekly). With three growing children, she is struggling financially to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and clothes on their back. In addition, Ms. ____ said that since Mr. _____’s detainment, there simply isn’t enough money for her to take her children anywhere. As a result, Ms. ____ and the children simply stay home. Ms. ____ is on a monthly lease and fears that she and her children may be on the verge of being evicted again. She said, “I have no clue where we would go, I have nowhere else to go.” It should be noted that Ms. ____’s parents passed away during her adolescence and young adulthood years and she has no support from her family.
In all likelihood, Mr. _____’s continuous immigration detainment and deportation will cause Ms. ____ to continue to struggle financially. She cannot secure employment until she finds daycare. However, in order for her to pay for daycare Ms. ____ needs to have a job. In addition, she cannot go back and finish her last two semesters of college due to her not being able to afford tuition. Furthermore, in all likelihood, Ms. ____ will have no choice but to continue applying for more public assistance benefits in the form of welfare, daycare and public housing.
It should be noted that Ms. ____ only has five months left of unemployment benefits. After that, her household will have no income. Entering the homeless shelter system is a strong possibility for Ms. ____ and her three children.
Emotional Impact Mr. _____’s Deportation Would Have On His Family
It is clear to this clinician that Ms. ____, , Son No. 1 and "son"are already being affected by Mr. _____’s immigration detainment and possible deportation. Ms. ____ is experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Given her history of trauma due to being a victim of domestic violence, having lost her parents at a young age and now her current family situation, Ms. ____ may not be emotionally stable enough to take care of her children without the help of Mr. _____. Ms. ____ cries often (depression), is constantly worried and has difficulties sleeping at night (anxiety).
Losing her job, being evicted and possibly losing her boyfriend to deportation (and the father of her youngest son) will most likely cause Ms. ____’s symptoms of depression and anxiety to be chronic. As a result, if Mr. _____ is deported, Ms. ____ will be in no emotional condition to raise three children as a single mother without any emotionally support from family and friends. Essentially Ms. ____ would be put in a position to raise three children that are currently struggling with their mental health needs while experiencing depression and anxiety herself.
It is my clinical opinion that , Son No. 1 and "son"are being emotionally affected by Mr. _____’s current immigration detainment and possible deportation. All three children appear to be exhibiting symptoms of Adjustment Disorder with mixed disturbance in Emotion and Conduct. All three have become more aggressive and defiant. is aggressive towards Mom and he throws temper tantrums very frequently. In addition, gets very upset when he visits his father and is only able to see him through a glass window without being able to be held or touched by him.
Son No. 1 has become a “bully” in school and his grades have dropped. Son's grades have dropped and he has lost interest in socializing with peers. The significant changes in behavior and socialization are typical behaviors of a child who is experiencing Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder. Adjustment Disorders occurs when an individual is unable to adjust to or cope with a particular stressor, like a major life event. In the case of , Son No. 1 and Son No. 2, it is the immigration detainment of their Dad (stepdad) and the significant changes in their home environment. , Son No. 1 and "son"went from living in a loving intact household to living in a single parent household, being evicted and no longer having a dad in their lives.
Given their young age and still developing coping skills, , Son No. 1 and "son"will be further traumatized if Mr. _____ is deported. Losing their father (stepdad) to deportation, the deterioration of their family nucleus and being raised in a single parent household with a Mom who is also struggling emotionally will put , Son No. 1 and "son"at risk of developing a chronic mental health disorder. It should also be noted that for Son No. 1 and Son No.2 , it would be like losing two fathers in their young lives. Their biological father is not involved in their lives and has stopped paying child support since January 2014.
How Will Mr. _____’s Family Benefit If He Is Released From Immigration’s Custody on Humanitarian Grounds
If Mr. _____ is released on Humanitatian Grounds, he will be reunited with Ms. ____, their son and his stepchildren "son"and Son No. 1. His presence back at home will help to decrease Ms. _____s depression and anxiety. In addition, having Mr. _____ back at home would ease Ms. ____’s fear for her safety. As previously mentioned, since Mr. _____’s immigration detainment their family car has been severely vandalized and rendered undriveable.
Furthermore, if Mr. _____ returns to his family, he will be able to help Ms. ____ address their children’s behavioral difficulties. At the same time, having Mr. _____ back home will once again make , "son"and Son No. 1 feel secure, loved and protected. In addition, if Mr. _____ receives a pardon he wants to go back to work immediately in order to help Ms. _____ financially.
Mr. _____ said, “I feel powerless being here (in immigration detention) and not being able to help her. It is my job as a man to provide for my family.” If Mr. _____ was allowed to reunite with his family, his family’s risk of being evicted from their apartment will be a lot lower. In addition, he will once again take on the role of the disciplinarian and make sure that , "son"and Son No. 1 are respectful to Mom, peers and teachers.
With Mr. _____’s support, Ms. ____ will no longer have a need to apply for food stamps, housing, daycare and housing. She said, “If he (Mr. _____) returns, I would go right back to working.”
Ms. ____ also reported that not being able to work has had a negative impact on her self-esteem. In addition, Ms. ____ said, “If he comes back, I will be able to finish the last two semesters of college and finally get my degree in criminal justice.”
How Will His Community Benefit If Mr. _____ Is Released On Humanitarian Grounds
As previously mentioned, Mr. _____ in the past has volunteered for the Fire Department and has helped displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy. If released on Humanitarian Grounds, Mr. _____ wants to go back to volunteering and making his community a better place to live in. Mr. _____ feels that volunteering also will teach his son and stepsons to care about and inspire them to improve their community.
It is my clinical opinion that Mr. _________ and her family will be better served if Mr. _____ is allowed to stay in the United States. If Mr. _____ is released on Humanitarian Grounds, his family will be able to once again enjoy financial and emotional stability. By having emotional and financial stability, it is likely that Ms. ____’s and her children’s mental health symptoms would subside or at the very least become less disruptive. Perhaps most important, having Mr. _____ back home will ensure that , "son"and Son No. 1 will once again get to enjoy their childhood by going fishing, playing sports or simply going to the park together as a family.