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“Too Many” NY Families Separated for Mother’s Day

PHOTO: Mothers Day for Justin Castillo (left) and his mother, Wendy Urbana, will be observed without the boy's father, Wilfredis Ayala Castillo (right), who has been detained since February. Photo courtesy of the Castillo family.
PHOTO: Mothers Day for Justin Castillo (left) and his mother, Wendy Urbana, will be observed without the boy's father, Wilfredis Ayala Castillo (right), who has been detained since February. Photo courtesy of the Castillo family.
May 9, 2014

BAYSHORE, N.Y. – Local immigrant families are using the days leading up to Mother's Day to call attention to the thousands of New Yorkers separated from their loved ones who are in immigration detention or have been deported.

Victoria Daza, an organizer for the Equal Education and Employment Project at Long Island Jobs with Justice, says Wendy Urbana is a good example.

She is a Long Island mom who won't have her husband at her side on Sunday, because he has been locked up in the Elizabeth Detention Contract Facility since early February.

"He walked on an overpass that happened to be private property,” Daza explains. “For citizens, this would end in a fine.

“However, being that as he is undocumented, this means that he gets to spend three months away from his loved ones in a detention center and is facing possible deportation."

Immigrant families and their supporters will hold a vigil 2 p.m. Saturday at the Third Police Precinct in Bayshore to call attention to New York families separated by what they see as a broken immigration system.

Daza points out that Urbana's husband has no criminal record and she says there are many people like him in New York and across the nation – being held for minor, nonviolent offenses and facing the risk of deportation.

"Nassau and Suffolk counties altogether make up 44 percent of all of the deportations in New York State,” she says. “So, while this holiday is happening on Sunday and a lot us get to spend time with our mothers and our loved ones, some people won't be able to – because their families are separated because of the need for immigration reform in this country."

Daza adds many at the vigil will be carrying letters to be delivered to women who are spending Mother's Day in immigration detention facilities.



Mike Clifford/Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY