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Reshma Shamasunder's picture

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Mother's day is less than two weeks away. And right now, a family in California's Antelope Valley is wondering whether they'll be together to embrace and celebrate their mom on that day, or whether they'll be torn apart by broken policies. 
 

The decision could be made in hours. 

And if we take action to support this family, we moms could make all the difference. 
 

Maria Isabel Zavala lived in Lancaster, California for ten years, where she sought to provide the best life possible for her three younger children. The family is part of the fabric of their community. Two of Maria's children  now have temporary protection from deportation thanks to the "Deferred Action" program, and one is a US Citizen.

But a few years ago, Maria faced a terrible dilemma

Maria's family is split by the border, and her oldest daughter lives back in Mexico. That daughter was facing serious surgery - it was a matter of life or death. 

Here, Maria's struggle as a mom ran into one of the greatest injustices of our time - our nation's failure to create a reasonable immigration process. She hadn't been able to see her daughter in ten years, and if she left, she'd face a dangerous and daunting voyage back to the small corner of California that was now her home. 

What would you have done? 
 

Maria took the risk of going back to Mexico to comfort her ailing older daughter. 

I know I would have done the same. 

The good news is, her eldest daughter survived the surgery.

But the bad news is, once back in Mexico, Maria began to live in fear. Fear of falling victim to growing violence in her region. 
 

So last month, Maria joined a brave group of immigrants who presented themselves at the Otay Mesa (San Diego) port of entry, asking for humanitarian relief so that they could reunite with their loved ones. 

As she fights for her family, Maria is also in physical pain. She suffered a broken leg several years ago, and a recent slip again put her in serious pain.
 

As one undocumented mother recently wrote to First Lady Michelle Obama, "Our families are sacred and they should always stay together."
 
And Maria's children and friends, organizing with the Antelope Valley Dream Team, are fighting for this cherished principle right now. 

Pressure is growing on President Obama to take action now to bring relief to immigrant families facing separation, but without our voices, moms like Maria won't get justice. 
 

So the Antelope Valley Dream Team is urging people to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) right now, at  202-732-3000, and say:
"I am calling to ask that you allow Maria Zavala back into the U.S. She needed to go back to Mexico to see her daughter, who had a life or death surgery. She now needs to come back home to the U.S. to be with her other children. Let Maria come home!" 
 
 
The Antelope Valley is an isolated desert region that lies at the furthest reaches of Los Angeles County. It's a beautiful place, but it can also be a very lonely place sometimes. I know this since I grew up there myself. 
 
Moms, let's unite and make sure Maria's family isn't alone. Together, we can make all the difference.

 


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