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Father’s Day Spotlight: NY Dads in Immigration Detention

PHOTO: Long Island immigrants and their supporters held a vigil Thursday night at East Meadow High School to call attention to the fate of Long Island undocumented immigrant fathers who are in detention at the nearby Nassau County Correctional Center. Photo courtesy Victoria Daza.
PHOTO: Long Island immigrants and their supporters held a vigil Thursday night at East Meadow High School to call attention to the fate of Long Island undocumented immigrant fathers who are in detention at the nearby Nassau County Correctional Center. Photo courtesy Victoria Daza.
June 13, 2014

NEW YORK – Millions of New York dads will get a hug this weekend, but a Thursday vigil on Long Island was held to call attention to families separated from undocumented fathers for minor offenses.

Victoria Daza, an organizer for Long Island Jobs with Justice, says while many people celebrate Father's Day, there are far too many immigrant families who won't have a dad around this weekend because they are trapped in the web of the nation's broken immigration system.

"Right now, we have a Long Island father who is facing deportation for something that anyone else would have gotten a fine for," she says. "Deporting fathers, deporting primary breadwinners, does not make Long Island safer."

Long Island immigrants and their supporters held a vigil last night at East Meadow High School to call attention to the fate of undocumented immigrant fathers who are in detention at the nearby Nassau County Correctional Center.

Daza translated for Wendy Urbana, a Long Island resident who explained her undocumented husband is in detention for the nonviolent crime of trespassing, and spoke about the impact his absence is having on their family this Father's Day.

"She says that it has affected her family economically and morally, because her son now has behavioral issues that he did not display before."

Long Island is the proper place to raise this issue for Father's Day, adds Daza, because it accounts for nearly half the deportations in the state.

"Nassau and Suffolk counties combined make up 44 percent of all New York State deportations," she says. "It could happen to anyone. Two-thirds of all people who are deported have no criminal record."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY