This heartbreaking video describes the outrageously unfair detention and deportation of an innocent man and the callous means by which immigration officials casually tear families apart.
On February 21, Felipe Montes, husband to a US citizen and father of three US citizens, is scheduled to have his parental rights stripped away in court due to his deportation. Despite the fact that Montes was his children’s primary caregiver before his arrest and has not been charged with neglect, the child welfare department nonetheless believes that his children, who have now been in foster care for more than a year, are better off in the care of strangers than in Mexico with their parents. Seth Freed Wessler’s report in the invaluable publication Colorlines offers a detailed look at this travesty of justice.
Montes and his children are among a growing number of families separated, sometimes permanently, at the intersection of immigration enforcement and the child welfare system. In November, Colorlines.com published an investigation that estimated well over 5,000 children in foster care whose parents are detained or deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The article went on to report that the trend is a growing one nationally, and that it often strikes obscure municipalities far from the border, like the 2,000-person town of Sparta, North Carolina.
In response, the good folks at Presente.org and the Applied Research Center, Colorlines’s publisher, are rallying public support to save the Montes family from being torn apart. Their petition calls on the Allegheny County Department of Social Services to ensure that Felipe’s family is not permanently separated, but is instead reunited in either the United States or Mexico. Join the call today and forward the petition widely!