Tuesday, May 3, 2011

US Immigration separates Palestinian mother from her 4 children (Palestine Telegraph)

US Immigration separates Palestinian mother from her 4 children

Monday, 02 May 2011 23:13
Sameh A. Habeeb

US Immigration separates Palestinian mother from her 4 children -- This is a story that embodies the Palestinian plight of the refugees displaced worldwide. Millions of Palestinians are scattered across the world. Huge numbers of them are denied their basic human rights of movement or family unification.

This story started 20 years ago when a female Palestinian refugee claimed a asylum in the US. That female, Faten Al Hakim, remained in the US where she married and gave birth of 4 children. The children were born American but the mother remained stateless Palestinian. The cruel American migration system captured the mother after 20 years, separated her from her kids before they deported her to one of South American countries. The mother was left alone away from her kids. She was like dying flower in a desert!

As a result of this separation Faten started to look for alternatives. She arrived to the UK a few month ago, early in 2011. Then 2 of her kids followed her, Sulaiman and Mohammed 16 and 13. They all claimed a asylum in March. UK Border Agency (UKBA) denied them asylum as Faten had failure case in the US. The family became scattered again. Her 2 kids were sent back to the US and she is due to be sent to South America again. The pain of the family continues with no mercy from either the US or UK.

I contacted Saba, daughter of Faten Haikm, who is in the US. She sounded to be a very American. Saba narrated her family's suffering and plight.

She spoke to me on the details of how American Migration authorities displaced her family:

On Friday April 13, 2010 ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) invaded my home at about seven thirty in the morning. My mother, Faten Hakim, was preparing her usual work on a normal day in Ramadan. A very loud noise like banging on the door had awoken me. I was surprised at the noise but brushed it off thinking it was one of our neighbors. All of a sudden my mother came into my room to wake me and said “Wake up the police is here to take me.” My heart dropped. What could they want from my mother? I was shocked. My mother had been in the US illegally for about 22 years. I never thought there would be a day where she would be asked to leave. Out of the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States, I never thought my mother would be caught. She gave birth to me and my three siblings in the United States. I, Saba Hakim, am 18 years old, my sister Janna 17, and my two brothers Sulaiman and Mohammed 16 and 13. We are American Citizens by birth.

I left my room to see the officers that had come to take my mother away from me. To my dismay, I discovered 6 ICE officers in my house. Three were in my living room, two in my hallway, and one looking at my younger brothers as they were sleeping. They immediately asked me for my identification card. I asked why they were here, and they stated that there was some immigration business needed to be taken care of with my mother. They said that she would have to accompany them to their offices in Manhattan. They insisted she leave right away, I pleaded for her to at least change into some proper attire. They agreed upon request that an officer of their own accompany my mother while she was changing. The female officer that had accompanied my mom had told her to be calm and she will be home soon because she has young children. As my mother passed me to leave with tears in her eyes she begged me to take care of my younger siblings.

The next time I saw my mother she was behind a glass window wearing a uniform as if she was a criminal. She was detained at Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The hardest thing for me to do was see my mother in that condition. My mother was not a criminal. Why was she being treated like one? Because she stayed in a country where she thought she would have better opportunities for herself and her US born children? Last time I checked, that wasn’t a crime. She was in a bad state of mind. She could not eat or sleep. She could only cry, as we all did. For the next three months we would visit our mother as much as we could with hopes that she would be coming home.

We hired a lawyer immediately to take care of our mothers case. See, my mother’s case is not ordinary. She had once lived in Memphis, Tennessee where she was caught for having an expired visa. In 1992, she saw a judge who told her she would have to leave the country. At the time, my mother was pregnant with myself. She agreed to leave but did not. The lawyer we hired, Jennifer Oltarsh, was not very optimistic about my mother’s case. Because the previous judge from Tennessee had ordered my mother to leave the country and she did not, she now had a final order of deportation. The case was to be presented in front of a judge in Tennessee, who would decide the fate of my mother. On October 25, 2010, we received notice that the judge had decided to deny my mother a second chance. The lawyer immediately filed an appeal.

On November 4, 2010, I received a call from my mother’s cell phone. I became ecstatic, had they finally freed my mother? I picked up asking my mother if she had been let out. To my surprise my mother was crying asking me to promise her I would take care of my siblings. I didn’t understand what was going on. She finally told me they were about to put her on a plane and deport her. My heart dropped. Was the United States really going to deport the mother of four US citizens? Were they really going to leave us to be taken care of by our disabled father? I began to cry, I didn’t know what to do. I called the lawyer who was just as shocked as I was. She had promised that something like this would never happen. Even if they were going to deport her, we’d get a heads up. The lawyer tried to get a judge to approve a temporary stay before my mother’s plane had left but there just wasn’t enough time.

The last time I saw my mother was on October 31, 2010. It has been about six months and I miss her. My family misses her. Nothing has been the same. It’s not fair that the government has done this to us. I don’t know when the next time I will see my mother is. Life without her has been hard. We try to take care of each other but our strongest pillar is gone and we keep falling without her.
Story by Saba ends here.

The story of Faten Hakim's family shows how unfair and inhuman is the American migration authorities. It shows how ruthless and heartless is the International community in dealing with the Palestinian refugees. A family like Faten's is representing the whole Palestinian nation which is stateless and homeless.
Please offer any help you can to unite this family again. All you have to do is help bringing the mother back. She has the very human right to be united with her kids. Borders and states barriers shall not destroys our world humanity.

Contact your Member of Parliament or anybody could help in the US or a elsewhere.

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