Separated for Christmas


Paola Hernandez, Reporter

   Christmas is coming up, which means it’s time to get the family together and celebrate.

   For some families, this includes presents, food and spending quality time with each other. For others, it’s a time to reminisce over the loss of certain family members. Immigration has been an ongoing topic in the news for some time now. Among the stories are parents and children that are separated due to the immigration laws. Sophomore Zayury Ochoa has separated parents and a separated family. She has two older brothers that both live in Monterrey, Mexico, and doesn’t talk to her dad often because her mother has full custody.

“Being separated during largely celebrated holidays is honestly so tough,” Ochoa said. “Not only is there no quality family time, but because everything isn’t the same anymore, the holidays aren’t either.”

   In September 2017, a law was supposed to be passed in Texas that stated police officers were to act as Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers, or ICE. It gave them permission to ask for any type of documentation that verified United States citizenship, and arrest immigrants if such documents weren’t presented. The law, also known as SB4, has been temporarily blocked because it was argued to be unconstitutional by cities and counties like Dallas, Austin and El Paso, across the state.

“If the law’s passed, then more and more families’ lives are just going to be ruined,” Ochoa said. “If my mom were to get deported, I don’t know what I would do, and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without her.”

   Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, 50,000 people have been deported, adding to the number of families that are already separated. According to the American Psychological Association, the toll that deportation takes on the children of immigrants is surreal. Depression, anxiety and social isolation are only some of the effects. Sophomore Ricardo Castañeda was born in the United States, but both of his parents are Mexican.

“When someone’s parents are deported, I think it affects their education and their way of living,” Castañeda said. “Being here provides jobs, which provides money that the parents can use to give their kids the things they need like clothes, food, shelter and educational materials for school.”

With missing parents and other members, Christmas will be different for several families.

“It’s just something that hurts families,” Ochoa said. “We gotta really think of other options instead of deportation.”