Do you remember what it was like to be 6 years old and lose your mother in the grocery store? The panic, the fear that you’ll never see her again, that something terrible might happen to you? Children of immigrants in our communities here in Western North Carolina are living with that fear of separation every day while decisions are made regarding Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s proposed rule titled Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status.
The rule will revoke eligibility for mixed-status families receiving federal housing assistance. A mixed-status family is one in which at least one household member (usually a parent) is without documentation, for a multitude of reasons. Oftentimes a visa has expired, and it is too dangerous for the person to return to their country of origin. In the meantime, they can work and pay taxes, but only eligible family members receive aid.
This proposed rule incites fear and alienates immigrant communities. The consequences are significant for children, most of them U.S. citizens, living in constant fear of losing their parents. Anti-immigrant policymaking traumatizes children and poses a risk for mental and physical health disparities. Policies that damage the lives of children do not speak to the American I want to be. I am writing for a call to action. Please call your state representatives and ask them to support and vote for H.R. 2763, the Keeping Families Together Act of 2019, which prohibits Secretary Ben Carson from passing his changes.
As a community, we must come together and support our most vulnerable members. Imagine that this was your 6-year-old, afraid of never seeing Mommy again. Not in a grocery store, but in their own home.
— Brianna Travell