My mom should be moving me into college next week. Instead she’s getting deported
‘She has never committed any crime’
A college freshman has made an impassioned plea to stop immigration officers from deporting her mom next week.
Wafaa Hamdi just learned ICE officials are planning to send her mother to Morocco – a country she left in 1996 when she legally emigrated to the US.
Wafaa’s mom has been given a date of August 23 to meet with ICE and learn when she has been scheduled for deportation.
Not knowing what else to do, Wafaa started a Change.org petition to get Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to stop her mother being separated from their family, which would be especially damaging to her brother – he needs care for Down’s Syndrome and heart problems.
We spoke to Wafaa, who is about to start her studies at Wright State in Ohio, about trying to keep her family together.
Can you tell me about how all this came about?
My parents came here in 1996 with 10-year visas. My mother has never committed any crime and she hasn’t done anything wrong until this day. They made the decision to deport her about three or four days ago. We got a letter in the mail from ICE, which said they had scheduled an appointment to look at her immigration status. My older sister called to see what the appointment was about, and they said: "Ma’am, we’re sending her away. On August 23, we’re going to schedule when she’s going to be sent away."
My brother is 15 years old and is going to be starting high school next year. He’s so excited about it. This is just another example of why we need my mother here. My brother has Down’s Syndrome and all these heart problems. He wouldn’t be able to survive without my mother. It would be impossible. But the ICE officer dealing with our case clearly doesn’t care. Once, they took my mother to jail for months for visa problems, and I had to start third grade without her, my brother had to start kindergarten without her. And she didn’t even commit a crime.
My parents work hard and pay taxes. I wish I could tell you something they’ve done wrong while being here, but they haven’t. That’s why I’m asking for everyone’s help. My mom is truly innocent. She’s done nothing to deserve this and neither has my family.
What’s the goal with your petition?
Our goal is to get Senator Sherrod Brown, or any senator or any governor to put a stop to this. They have decided to send my mother away. At this point, we’re trying to find a way to stop it. We’re looking for any type of way. We’ve been told a high-up government official is the best way, but we’re willing to do anything.
How did it feel to see your petition raise 50,000 signatures already?
I set it up the day before yesterday. The number of responses brought me and my family to tears. We would never have imagined that this many people cared, especially given what’s been happening with immigration, how it’s gotten so bad. We didn’t expect a response from the whole wide world, we’ve gotten responses from people in other states and different countries. It’s insane.