This Mother’s Day is different for ourclient Camila*. She can’t be with her mom, which makes her sad, but the important thing is that she, her husband, and their children are together and safe. The family fled Colombia to escape persecution from a man who targeted Camila for years. They sought asylum at the U.S. border, where authorities decided to detain Camila but released her children and husband.
“Many people who arrive to this country with children have no other option,” Camila says, reflecting on their experience. “It is more than an American dream, as some say. It is to feel protected and safe not only for us, but for our loved ones.”
Camila spent six months in immigration detention. “Being in captivity reminded me a lot of my past, so the experience was very difficult,” she shares. The uncertainty and separation caused her family incredible stress as well. Her youngest child struggled to understand why their mother wasn’t with them. The Florence Project legal and social services teams worked vigorously to win Camila’s asylum case so that she could be released. We are thrilled that the family is now reunited and has a pathway to legal permanent residency.
“This time,” Camila says, referring to Mother’s Day, “there are no threats. This time there is nothing to fear. This time I am freer than ever. I hope to do something nice to celebrate the triumph. Being a mother on Mother’s Day is marked by being with family.”
Of course, for all the mothers we’ve assisted in reuniting with their families, there are also those who remain separated and detained, as well as individuals for whom this day brings up difficult relationships that were never reconciled, or the passing of a beloved mother. We acknowledge these sorrows even as we celebrate the joys.
“Here I am, happy to hug my children,” Camila says, expressing gratitude for the “unconditional support” offered to her in the form of free legal and social services. She is thrilled to look out her window now and see a clear horizon—no more walls and barbwire fences and bars. We relay her thanks to you and wish you and your loved ones a happy Mother’s Day.
*Pseudonym used to protect client privacy