This email was sent to me by Fredd Reyes, who we helped to get out of detention in Thanksgiving of 2010. Ever since then, Fredd and his mom have been under constant supervision by ICE and his mom recently received a “bag and baggage” letter. This was written by Fredi Reyes, his younger brother.
My name is Fredi Reyes. I am a 15-year old United States citizen, born in New York on November 23, 1996. I’m a freshman high school student at East Davidson High School and I’m currently undergoing the worst crisis of my life. This isn’t some teenage fit over popularity or how good I look, or the clothes I wear. Along with my mother, I am facing deportation from my only home.
It has been well over a year since Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) came to my house and arrested my brother. My family came to the United States fleeing from the country of Guatemala, which at the time was in terrible condition. Guerillas had threatened to kill my mother after assassinating her brother. Fleeing for her life, my mother reached the United States and applied for asylum. But she was told that if she did not withdraw her application, she would need to go to jail. Fearful that my older brother and I would be put into jail or separated from her, my mother withdrew her application and she was told to depart the country.
I sat in a room listening to ICE interrogate my mom and brother, saying that there was no hope for us, so many thoughts were running through my head. Confusion, helplessness, and anger completely numbed my body. Two questions kept running through my mind: Where do I stand in all of this? And what will become of me?
I have to choose my poison: Either I lose my family and loved ones or lose my chances of ever having a good future. If I wanted to stay here in the United States, I would have to go with social services and maybe placed in foster care. It seems simple enough to stay here but there is just one problem: I don’t believe in the separation of families. Wherever my family goes, I go.
My family is everything to me, especially my mother. She is the person that allowed me to live. She has supported me through the best and worst of times. She is the one who has motivated me to do well in school, and the one who tells me to not be afraid of showing who I really am. My mother is everything to me. I cannot let her go to Guatemala alone.
But if I go with my mother to Guatemala, I would have no opportunities. My parents wouldn’t be able to support me because in Guatemala, at their age, they would be forbidden from work. Getting a good education in Guatemala is extremely expensive. I also don’t really speak Spanish well. All hopes of a future for me would be lost.
I am currently in honors classes, and one of my extracurricular classes in an honors class. In fact, it is my best class (according to teachers, this is the most difficult class for freshman). I have always been an honors student. I am also a talented musician and I can play several instruments. I have dreams of becoming a Marine Biologist, helping to uncover the great mysteries of life. If I go with my mother, all that I have worked for will turn into dust. Every agonizing hour I have studied would become pointless and null.
My mother has been in this country for more then 20 years. Guatemala has changed dramatically in these 20 years. The mass of criminals on the loose has grown exponentially. It isn’t just quiet assassins: mass murders occur on common streets. All you hear about in Guatemalan news is massacre after massacre. Guatemala isn’t the same country my mother left 20 years ago. It is best put as a literal and metaphorical sinkhole. My mother does not belong there. I don’t belong there.
If my mother is deported, I would be deported too. The government says there is no hope for my mother, that she must drink the poison, along with her son. I refuse to accept this because I know we can reopen my mother’s case and lift her prior deportation order. She was sponsored by my aunt, a United States citizen, many years ago. If we get ICE to exercise their discretion and lift the deportation order, then my mother would become eligible for a green card right away.
I love this country so much. It is all I know. This is my home. This is the home of my family. I have grown to admire the soldiers who fight for this country. The United States helps so many people around the world. Right now, my family needs help.