In acknowledgement of Father’s Day, I would like to share a letter written by Yamil Jr., the son of my friend Claudia. This will be the second year he can’t be with his dad on Father’s Day because of the U.S. detention system.
Through his story, we see the dysfunction and inhumanity of U.S. immigration and detention policies that need to be challenged. To put it simply, detention and criminalization of migrants who are seeking refuge and a better life must end. This is a battle we must fight on both sides of the border, #DeAquiyDeAlla, and those of us who are in Mexico we’ll be loud about it. Who in the U.S. is going to stand with us?
My dad is like any other person and one day he had many dreams like I have now, and when he was 19 years old he decided to go after them. He left everything in Mexico and settled in Wichita, Kansas, where he met my mom and it is here where I was born and grew up until I was 6. But one day a judge decided to deport my dad, which forced my mom and me to leave our home because we had to go with my dad, he was always our support. I also felt I was being deported from my own country. My dad is my hero and for me, he is a soccer superstar. I grew up watching the soccer games he played and now, I am also a soccer player and I play the sport with the same passion he did.
It’s been almost two years since I returned to my country and home in the U.S. with my mom after she joined the “Bring Them Home” campaign and was part of the #Dream9. She was also detained for two weeks as my dad is now, but unlike my mom, they are no letting him come home, he is not allowed to come out of that place where I could only visit him 2 times in almost two years.
This August I will start high school and I will be playing for my school’s soccer team. My dad taught me everything I know and he always gave me advice for my games, with his help I learned to multiply, and how to add and subtract. Now I feel very confused. I don’t know what to do without him. My middle school teachers tell me that I’m a good soccer player, that if I improve my grades I can get a good scholarship to go to college, which is one of my dreams, but when I think about the years ahead in high school, I feel very lonely without my dad. My mom is great and in these months that my dad has been in detention, she has not stopped working so that I continue to move forward, but I see her and I realize how difficult it’s for her to be alone in her own legal fight. But this is our home, we want to be here, I see my future here, I don’t want to go back to Mexico. There I lived in fear, thinking that I could die at any moment, from the beginning I never felt welcomed, I attended 5 different elementary schools, my dad was kidnapped by corrupt police officers just for ransom; my grandfather, my uncle and two of my mom’s uncles were killed in Mexico, and no one has done anything about it. I feel safe here but I also need my parents with me.
If my dad was here, our lives would be better, my mom would not have to work two jobs and I could focus on my dreams with the support of both my mom and dad. But that’s not how it is, I know I have to work harder to succeed but without my dad I feel very lonely, I keep waiting for him but it seems forever, I feel angry because my dad is locked up for simply wanting to be with me. We are a small family.
What makes me happy is that my mom and dad love each other very much but I need to know, why do we have to be separated? Why has my dad been detained for 20 months in Eloy, Arizona? He has remained strong because he knows that if we go back to Mexico, our lives are in danger and he needs to know that we are going to be well.
Today is Father’s Day and I miss my dad more than ever. I don’t want to feel alone and I don’t know if I’m the only one going through this. Does anybody have a magic wand? Who has the power to bring our family back together? I no longer want to be without him, we have never hurt anyone, he needs to come home.
Dad, if you read this letter, I want to tell you that I miss you, I need you, I need your advice, I wished we could play soccer and the Xbox games we’ve always liked to play together, watching movies, eating the burgers you cook, I want you to see how happy I am since I returned to where I was born. Having you by my side would make me the happiest person on this planet. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.
(Yamil Yaujar Amaro)
Click HERE for Spanish translation.
Audio recording (Spanish) of Yamil Jr. calling his dad at Eloy Detention Center this morning to wish him a Happy Father’s Day:
More on Yamil’s case on Newsweek (Spanish)
Please like “Yamil Needs His Dad” Facebook page.
#FathersDay #EndDetention #WeBelongTogether