Community

UNITE THE SINGH FAMILY!

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Gurmukh Singh is a family man, dedicated to his two daughters and wife. He arrived to the US in 1998 when he fled India due political persecution when he was organizing to obtain more rights as a member of the Sikh faith.  He and his wife arrived to the US and  applied for political asylum. His wife, who goes by Bobbi, was granted asylum and is now a US citizen. While in the US waiting to legalize his status, they had two daughters Navdeep who is 11 years old and Manpreet is 14 years old.

(Image by Julio Salgado)

While going to an I-130 interview his family was hopeful and excited that finally Gurmukh’s case was going to be resolved. With no criminal background and a notable commitment to the Sikh community, his family thought that night they would go home with papers in hand. However, when he arrived to the interview he was detained to be put in deportation proceedings and not allowed to hug his daughters goodbye. 

Dad

It has now been three months, and he has already missed his daughters high school graduation, if WE don’t act now he will miss out on the rest of his daughters lives.  Even more threatening is the fact that if he is deported back to India the Punjab Police could torture or even kill him. 

Last week, I was able to visit his family at their home in Garden Grove, CA. As I took my shoes off to enter their home, I observed the beautiful pictures on their wall. On the corner, next to the television was a small area where Manpreet and Navdeep pay homage to their father. It moved me so much, the love that they have for their father, that I took a picture as you can see on the right of a plaque they gave to him.  These young girls need their father, the family must be reunited immediately. However, for this reunion to happen the family needs support!   

Carlos, and organizer from RAIZ that has been fighting alongside the Singh family states, “Many mainstream immigrant organizations have been advocating for “comprehensive immigration reform”, but the reality is that the type of reform that could pass will be one that will exclude and criminalize immigrants. We cannot rely on a bill, we need to organize to fight back against laws and programs that have been separating our families. Mainstream immigrants organizations and democrats need to hold President Obama accountable and demand that he stops the deportations.”

Please sign the petition here! 

This is not the only time we have seen children fight for their parents freedom. Katherine Figueroa an Arizona resident fought for her father and mothers release when she was just 9 years old, and became the first person to directly target the President on this issue in 2009. She mobilized other children who have been separated from their parents and gained national attention by also becoming the first child to testify in congress in 2010. Now she is reunited with her parents.

Sadly, not all stories have the same fate.  As reported by many scholars, most of the children in undocumented families are US citizens, and due to the anti-immigrant sentiment coupled with the record high deportation cases, of every two people detained one child is left behind (Capps, 2007).  Many times, the children left behind goes into the foster care system, never to see their parents again. Since 2011, at least 5,100 children have entered the foster care system and alarmingly there are projections that as many as 15,000 more children could face a same situation (Dreby, 2012).  Most of  children who have been separated from their parents become depressed, they begin to have nightmares, health issues, loss of appetite and emotional trauma (Capps, 2007 & 2010).

Clearly, the state and federal government are inadequate at protecting the rights and well-being of their most vulnerable citizens; and on the contrary, they are marginalizing an entire portion of the next generation.  We must put our foot down and say “YA BASTA” “ENOUGH ALREADY!” Please help the Singh Family Reunite!

Sources:

Capps, R. (2007). Paying the price: The impact of immigration raids on America’s children.

Capps, R., Chaudry, A., Pedroza, J. M., Castaneda, R. M., Santos, R., & Scott, M. M. (2010). Facing Our Future: Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement. Urban Institute.

Dreby, J. (2012). How Today’s Immigration Enforcement Policies Impact Children, Families, and Communities: A View from the Ground. Washington: Center for American Progress.

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