Recent news about 19-year old Karen Arriaga having her two children taken away from her, and then being put into a detention center has a lot of immigrant advocates frustrated.
After visiting her children at Family Preservations, a foster care center in Florida, Karen was turned over to immigration agents and detained by either the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
After putting Karen into a detention center, officials later took her parents, Victor and Elida into custody. This happened after Family Preservations requested that the grandparents come in to visit their grandchildren. Upon arriving, they were questioned on their immigration status, and one of their grandchildren was taken right out of Elida’s arms, so they could be taken to jail.
While Victor has been discharged for unknown reasons, Elida remains in a federal immigration detention center, as does Karen. In this case, not only was a mother separated from her children, a 2 year-old and 1 year-old, but now a wife has also been separated from her husband, daughter and grandchildren.
It is situations like these where we need to ask what, if any benefit comes from this. For other undocumented immigrants, this story will just encourage them to hide from authorities, even when in need of help. Instilling fear in people does not help anyone.
As put by Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition:
“Family Preservation, instead of trying to bring families together, is destroying this family, tearing it apart.”
Contributed by Angela Donadic, Policy and Advocacy Fellow