By Astrid Reyes, ACLU Human Rights Program
Sisters Imelda and Sandy traveled to the U.S. to reunite with their families in New Jersey when Border Patrol apprehended them near Columbus, N.M. According to Programa de Defensa e Incidencia Binacional, a Mexican human rights coalition, the sisters were natives of a rural town in Tlaxcala, a southcentral state in Mexico. It took all of their strength, courage, and savings to come to the U.S. to provide for their families and send their children to decent schools. After being detained for four months, they then found themselves repatriated to Ciudad Juárez, an enormous and perilous border town completely foreign to them. The U.S. government took what little they had left and deported them without their money, identification cards, cell phones, photos, and other mementos. Imelda did not even get her wedding ring back. Through tears they explained they could not remember their mother’s phone number to call for money so they could go home. After immense sacrifices to secure a better future for their families, Imelda and Sandy had been left empty-handed.