“Life, unauthorized” is a series from WHYY that looks at the personal immigration stories of individuals who are living in the Philadelphia region without legal status.
Jeidi, 8, third grader from Philadelphia, parents from Honduras
Jeidi is a citizen, but her parents are undocumented immigrants from Honduras. She’s taking a comic-book workshop organized by Nora Litz at Mighty Writers for kids to express what it’s like to live in fear that a family member will be deported. Her story is about kids who open the door to ICE, who then take their parents away. The kids are left alone for several days, can’t cook, and don’t know what to do. Jeidi worries that if her parents are taken, she won’t be able to take care of herself or her younger twin brothers.
She says she took the class because “I want everybody to know what’s happening here in the city, because I don’t want to ruin the city. Because this city, I [was] born here, so I don’t want something to happen here.”
She worries about ICE coming to their house. She asked her mom what they’d do if it happened. Her mother told her they wouldn’t go to work, but instead would stay inside the house and not open the door without first looking out the window. “If it’s the police, ICE, we cannot open it because we are upset that Donald Trump maybe is going to get us.”
In her own words: Fear of separation from parents
“My mom told me not to open the door because it might be immigration. They can’t take us. The police chief would leave us all alone in the house, and they can take the parents away, and we would stay behind.
“And what would we eat? My mom told me when some little kids opened the door to the police. And then when they opened the door, they take their parents. And then they could not cook, and they don’t know what to do. I don’t know how that happened… And there was no food in the house and no one know they were there. Someone showed up to help them.
“I am going to leave. I am going to Honduras because of the situation here. Police is taking people and sending them back. Before that happened, my mother and my father want to take us back to Honduras. I’m kind of happy because I’m going to meet my four grandparents. I am also sad because ICE can take my mother to jail and spend three years there.”