July 21, 2019
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US tutor cares for kids whose parents might be deported

Miami, Jun 24(efe-epa).- Activist Nora Sandigo, who legally tutors a class of more than 1,500 children of undocumented immigrants in the US to keep them out of the hands of state institutions, now gets more requests than ever from parents terrorized by the threat of massive deportations, she told EFE.

"There's something that's broken, that isn't working right," she said, and when asked exactly what she was talking about, she replied "the head of the president," Donald Trump.

The founder of the Nora Sandigo Children Foundation noted that announcements of massive roundups for the expulsion of undocumented immigrants, estimated at some 11 million people, have instilled terror in the immigrant community that still reigns despite the president's decision to postpone the operation.

"People know the risk (of being detained) will be back again" so they are taking precautions, Sandigo said, though she believes a lot of Trump's announcements and retractions are "political rhetoric."

In her opinion, the Republican is using the same anti-immigrant strategy in his campaign to be reelected in 2020 that got him into the White House in 2016.

Without saying how many, she said requests for her to take legal custody of minors born in this country to undocumented parents have increased greatly over the past few weeks.

Above all, she said, if the kids are of Mexican or Guatemalan parents "desperate" to avoid their children being sent to orphanages or being adopted if they themselves are detained and deported.

"The Great Mother", as she was called in a like-named 2018 documentary produced by two young American filmmakers, Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker, read to EFE in a voice shaking with emotion one of the most recent messages she has received from an undocumented father.

The sender was Jose, a Honduran living in Wisconsin with his 14-year-old daughter Rosa, for whom he has been the legal guardian since she was 2, and who is worried about "what could happen to her" if he is caught in a raid.

For that reason he asked Sandigo to keep Rosa safe while he goes through the deportation process, so she can return to Honduras later and get back together with him there.

Jose told Nora he would go to Miami with his daughter in order to leave her in the tutor's care, but she told him that was too dangerous because he could be arrested along the way.

She advised him to stay where he was and send her the legal authority so she could have custody of Rosa as soon as possible.

Once completed the procedure, Jose would only have to use the phone call to which he has the right if arrested to talk to Sandigo.

If she gets the call, this woman, who now has legal custody of over 2,500 minors, will fly to Wisconsin and pick up the young Rosa.

The girl will live with Sandigo's other foster kids on a ranch in Homestead, an agricultural area south of Miami, where among the farm hands are many undocumented immigrants, some of whom have more than 20 years in the country, with American children and who pay their taxes, the tutor said.

For an activist who has spent more than 30 years of her life working for the cause of US minors with undocumented parents, "the priority" is to travel in search of children in other states, because South Florida has plenty of other people who can represent them before the authorities.

She also has a legion of volunteers who help make sure the foundation that bears her name can continue to feed and care for minors left alone if the parents or family members who have them in custody are detained.

When asked how many "children" she has now, Sandigo answered 1,513, a figure that can increase if the threats of massive deportations are maintained during the long campaign for the 2020 presidential election.

Trump said this Sunday that Democrats have two weeks to negotiate "simple changes" in the asylum process and loopholes in immigration law, and indicated that if no agreement is reached, he will start "the big Deportation."

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