“It’s Like Someone Has Taken a Part of My Heart That Was There for a Long, Long Time.” A 12-Year-Old Reflects on the Experience of Immigration Officers Separating His Family.

Victor and Indykids reporters Aisha Tabala, Juan Cortes and Gibran Freilla Williams

By Victor, age 12

Every week, my family would go to the movies. We watched Sharknado 1, 2 and 3. We used to get popcorn, nacho cheese chips and Coke slushies. It was exciting, something I looked forward to.

But two years ago, everything changed.

One day, after my dad picked me and my little sister up from school, when we got to our apartment building, there were a bunch of immigration officers waiting at the elevator on the first floor. We didn’t know what was going on at the time, and then one of the officers told my dad to come with them. My dad said that he couldn’t leave me and my sister alone downstairs, so the officers allowed my dad to take me and my sister up to our apartment. When we got upstairs and my mom saw my dad get handcuffed, she started to cry as they took him away.

I only get to visit my dad at the immigration detention once every two weeks. It’s like someone has taken a part of my heart that was there for a long, long time. If I were you, I would not want to be me.

When my father was arrested, my whole life changed. I’ve been getting into more trouble at school because of it. I don’t know how everyone at school figured out that that was happening. They just knew about it.

I want to tell other kids and people that they can stand up for immigrants so that other kids don’t go through what I’ve been through.

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