Mayra is a mother of 3 U.S. Citizen kids and has lived in the United States since she was 5 years old. Today she is detained in Arkansas and being charged with illegal re-entry for escaping violence in El Salvador and trying to reunite with her young children.
Family separation also impacts U.S. citizen children, like Arkansas-natives Dominic, Dyanara, and Dorian (ages 12, 11, and 8, respectively). Their single mom, Mayra was deported to El Salvador in early 2017 for writing bad checks when she was a teenager. As a teen, she spent months in a boot camp for youth in trouble for the first time and moved on with her life. Years later, in a case of racial profiling, she was pulled over for looking “suspicious” while driving her kids to pick out a Christmas tree, and deported to El Salvador. Mayra’s children have spent much of their lives dealing with their mom cruelly being taken away from them because of a mistake from long before they were born.
Having lived in the U.S. since she was five years old, Mayra immediately stuck out as an American in El Salvador and was threatened by gangs. Desperate to survive and reunite with her kids, Mayra fled for her life. Unfortunately, right as Jeff Sessions announced his “zero tolerance” policy, Mayra was in a fender bender and ended up being handed over to federal prosecutors by local police.
In Mayra’s own words:
“ICE and now Jeff Sessions have separated me from my children twice since 2015. The emotional trauma mixed with depression and anxiety my young children are yet again having to deal with, after I worked so hard to give them a little bit of stability, has been devastating. Every day, they ask me ‘How long will they hold you this time, Mommy?’ and every day, I can't answer. The fear of the unknown is haunting me. I miss my children so much.
“I miss dropping my children off to school each morning. I miss our daily morning conversations. I miss telling Dominic to work hard and challenge himself with his advanced coursed. I miss Dyanara reading to me each night and telling me how much she loves me. I miss Dorian crawling into my bed in the middle of the night and being able to hug him and tell him ‘I am right here’ during his nightmares.
“I told them I would never leave them. I feel like I have failed my children, because immigration policies have ripped my family apart. When will enough be enough?”
Today, Mayra is being charged with “illegal reentry” and faces two years in prison for trying to safely be a mother to her children. The government refuses to give her an asylum interview. But the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas can make the right decision and reunite this family.
Can you sign and tell the Arkansas US Attorney’s office to drop the reentry charges against Mayra and let her be with kids?