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My Letter To Michelle Obama: From One Mother To Another, Help My Immigrant Family

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SINGLE MOTHER
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Dear Mrs. Obama,

We have many things in common: we both have two children, we are minority women, we are college educated, we are United States citizens, and we want the very best for our children. However, there is a major difference between us: I have been refused the right to raise my children with my husband, their father, at my side. Thousands of fathers and husbands are deported each year and this affects thousands of mothers, including me. This May 11 of 2014 will be my 22nd year I will spend Mother's Day without my husband.

My husband did not leave us voluntarily; it is my own country that forced this upon me and my children. For nearly my entire life, I have been a victim of harsh immigration laws, laws that have rendered my children fatherless. In addition to being a single mother, I am an immigrant and a minority woman, which only compounds the struggles that I have had to face. I have worked up to three jobs at once in order to meet my family's daily needs. I have had many years where I was only able to see my children in time to put them to bed at night and early enough to send them off to school in the morning. Summertime was even more tragic when I had no choice but to leave my children at home alone for hours at a time while I tried to make ends meet. It was my faith and my prayers that allowed my children to remain safe and to thrive within their own lives.

Today I can proudly tell you that my children have surpassed all expectations that society placed on them based on heartbreaking statistics. My children refused to be defined by the assumption they would be trapped in a cycle of poverty. Both of my children have gone on to become successful professionals, graduating from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Houston. They persevered as best they could with the resources that were given to them.

Now I ask you to please just imagine how different our lives would have been if my husband and their father, had been at our side. If my children were able to accomplish all they have without their father, can you imagine how much further they could have gone with him? Would having their father at home to love and support them be a hindrance in their excellence? I would have been able to celebrate Mother's Day in a much different light. I would have had my partner and my confidant to help me with the obstacles of life instead of having to face them alone. I have lived in quiet submission to this injustice for many years believing that I was alone in this ordeal. Now, as I watch the growing number of mothers who are facing what I have faced, I am appalled and saddened that our country is destroying American families.

I can only imagine the comfort and gratitude you must feel when you watch your husband provide love and support for your daughters. According to the U.S. Census of Bureau, 24 million children, one out of every three, live without a biological father present in their life. More than 5,100 U.S. children are in foster care because their parents are detained or deported. These statistics display a major crisis in our country. Our country's immigration laws are only adding to this devastating epidemic as hundreds of thousands of people, many of them parents, are deported every year.

From one mother to another, I ask you to support laws that stop deporting our fathers (and mothers) and to reunite families. You and your husband can help me and our beloved country resolve this crisis affecting so many mothers. I remain hopeful that one day my husband may come home to be with me and my children. There is no greater gift that thousands of mothers could receive on Mother's Day than to have their children's fathers at their side.

Respectfully,

Patricia Guillen