Video of dozens of children in tears pleading for their parents after massive I.C.E. raids in Mississippi hit too close to home for 15-year-old Samantha Rodriguez, a student at Rancho Mirage High School. It’s a fear the children of undocumented immigrants, like Samantha, face everyday.
“It can be a nightmare because so many things can happen in a minute, a day, a second so in a day you go home and your parents are deported and they didn’t even let you say goodbye,” says Samantha.
The images of the children brought her fears to life, “It was 1000 miles away but it can also hit really, really close to home so we have to worry and we just have to stay cautious and prepare for anything that can happen in our valley.”
Her mom says they came to the U.S. 20 years ago from Mexico in search of a better life. She’s in the process of changing her legal status. Her three children were all born in America, the youngest is 10.
“I live in fear because of the uncertainty, the not knowing what will happen … you can have plans, I have made plans on where to leave my children but what kind of a plan is that? It’s not the same as being with my children,” says Samantha’s mother, who asked to remain anonymous.
Samantha is turning her fear into action. She’s starting a foundation to help other teens in her situation, it’s called United Youth We Stand.
The mission is simple, she says, “Workshops about misconceptions about immigration, just inform them, keep them calm, united, make sure they vote.”
She says she won’t let the fear rob her of her dreams, that include becoming an immigration attorney and, “One day become the governor and just kind of build my own stable life and continue to help people that are in need.”