Why #JeannetteBelongsHereChildren of Immigrants
“[I am] a mother that loves her children so much and that is going to do anything that is needed to be with them always. And also, I want to do everything that is necessary so that no one else has to go through what I’m going through.”
—Jeanette to Boulder Weekly, August 27, 2015
These are the words of Jeanette Vizguerra, mother of four, and vocal immigrant advocate. Vizguerra faces deportation. Her stay of removal expired Feb. 7th and she is required to check-in with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement tomorrow. Unfortunately, this is not a new process for the Vizguerra children who are all too familiar with the fear of losing a parent.
Jeanette came to the U.S. in 1997 to join her husband and eldest daughter, Tania, in Denver, Colorado. Her younger children, Luna, Roberto, and Zury are all U.S.-born citizens. Last summer they participated in our This Is My American Story PSA campaign.
Luna, Roberto, and Zury are all activists in their own rights – speaking out and attending protests with their mother. But the strain of their family’s legal battles and living in fear of losing a parent to deportation has significantly impacted them – forcing them to face fears that no child should have to consider. Vizguerra reports that her Zury, her youngest child, has been known to re-enact interactions with immigration and police officers instead of playing with dolls like other girls her age.
“It’s multiple stresses all at once — her children were with her the time she was detained in 2009 during one of her check-ins, and that’s a deep, emotional trauma for them.”
– Rev. Anne Dunlap to The Denver Post, February 24, 2016
Over the years, Vizguerra has received five stays of removal for six months at a time, and last year she received her first year-long stay. She has also been in the application process for a U-visa (granted to victims of violent crime for their helpfulness to the police). Yet nothing is guaranteed.
“Sometimes when [my children] are playing they talk about when they grow they will tell other people about the fight that we’ve raged, and the things we’ve done together.”
– Jeannette Vizguerra to Boulder Weekly, August 27, 2015
The local community has rallied around the Vizguerra family. Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, local churches, and individual advocates have declared their support for Jeanette through social media and in-person vigils and rallies.
To support the Vizguerra family, post of photo of yourself holding a sign that reads #JeanetteBelongsHere.