MALDEF

Philanthropist Helps Citizen Children of Immigrants Finish School in US



CNN reports on a new charity that is helping the children whose parents have been deported complete their education in the United States.
[Julie] Quiroz is one of an estimated 3 million American children who have at least one parent who entered the United States illegally, according to the Urban Institute, which researches and evaluates U.S. social and economic issues.

In Quiroz's case, she was born in Washington state, lived there her entire life and went to school there. But her mother, Ana Reyes, entered the United States illegally before Quiroz was born and U.S. immigration officials caught up with her last year on her birthday.

"I was there when they handcuffed her," Quiroz says. "I was there when they took her down."
Her mother and two brothers were deported to Mexico, and Quiroz and her 6-year-old sister followed them to Mexico City. Unfortunately for the young girls, school in this unfamiliar place was not easy for them.
"I never belonged there," [Quiroz] says. "I'd just come home, sit down, cry. I'd say, 'Mom, I can't do it.' ... I can't read or write Spanish."

She adds, "I felt like there were no dreams for me."

Fortunately for Quiroz, her story did not end there.
[H]er plight caught the attention of Joe Kennard, a land developer and Christian philanthropist. Kennard reached out to Quiroz's mother and told her the teen could live with his family in Texas and enroll in school there.

His group, Organization to Help Citizen Children, works with churches along the U.S.-Mexico border to provide support for children whose mother or father is deported to Mexico.

Kennard hired a private tutor to get Quiroz up to speed for missing a year of schooling. "She's conflicted because she knows that she's got to get an education and this is the only way to do it. But she also feels the love for her mother and that's the torture."
Full article available here.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund