Immigration officers seem to be going after single mothers, and the children are being left behind to fend for themselves.
According to The Herald, Bernarda Pineda, 33, said she had a work permit and a driver’s license but had yet to be granted a permanent visa after living in the United States for 12 years. The Honduran woman is a single mother, and her children range in age between 9 and 14.
With a clean record and no crimes to her name, Pineda said she believed that she was not going to be singled out by immigration officials after President Donald Trump took office. But in February, she was called into the office by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There, she was told she was going to be asked to leave.
Since she wanted to be able to visit her daughters, she said she would pay for her own travel expenses. Still, she said she’s baffled that officials would go after her, a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record, and that they would force her to leave her children behind.
“I’ve never not seen my children,” she told reporters. “I’ve always been with my daughters. It will be so horrible. I brought my daughter from Honduras at 2 years old because I couldn’t be without her.”
Now, Pineda will not only have to leave her children, she will also have to go back to the dangerous country she’s from.
“Honduras is very poor, very dangerous,” she explained. “There are murders. Femicide. It’s one of the most dangerous countries in the world.”
1. Bernarda Pineda, a Marysville resident since 2011, fled impoverished and dangerous Honduras 12 years ago @KariBray and @rikkiking report #DACADreamers #DACAdeadline #Dreamers https://t.co/r84jbf2oT7— The Herald (@EverettHerald) March 7, 2018
After hearing about her situation, Barbara McKinney, one of her daughters’ teachers, said she felt her heart break.
“I just held [Pineda’s daughter] Stacey, and I sobbed,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do because I knew the family was going to be separated.”
“I thought they were going after gangsters and people with a criminal background,” the teacher added, saying she doesn’t understand why this happened to Pineda. “But no. They’re going after single moms.”
McKinney put together a GoFundMe page for Pineda to help her with her expenses.
It’s heartbreaking to see a hardworking single mother who’s done so much to make sure her children grow up in a safe environment be treated the way she’s being treated by the government. We hope Pineda is able to get legal help so she can remain in the country at her children’s side.