As the election year starts in all of its force and the political debate has, as one of its central issues, the fate of the many undocumented immigrants of all ages: some young children,others teens reuniting with parents and parents who are the sole support for young children born in this country,we are reminded every day that this is about the future of many of the reunited immigrant families we have been talking about in the posts of this blog.

Through a friend in Facebook I became acquainted with an incredible French artist: Frances Bruno Catalano, born in Morocco in 1960 and now living in Marseille,France. His sculptures of great beauty depict as a central theme the traveler and the empty space created in that person when leaving everything that is familiar. As the artist himself puts it: “I have traveled a lot and I left Morocco when I was 12 years old. I felt that a part of me was gone and will never come back…” thus reminding us that pain and loss is a part of leaving the familiar homeland of our childhood that counted few undergo lightly and, more so, when the struggle to arrive and then survive is also great, as it is for the undocumented immigrant.

Forced to leave by Catalano

In 2012, the American Psychological Association published a document in their website, in the section:Psychology Topics, on Immigration and under the name: Undocumented Americans.  In this publication APA is trying to educate the public on the daily struggles, fears and trauma of over a million of undocumented children and youth living in America. Some of these experiences as described in this document may include:

  • racial profiling
  • ongoing discrimination
  • exposure to gangs
  • immigration raids in their communities
  • arbitrary stopping of family members to check their documentation status
  • being forcibly taken or separated from their families
  • returning home to find their families have been taken away
  • placement in detention camps or the child welfare system
  • deportation

These experiences result in many negative emotional or behavioral symptoms. The authors call for a stop to assigning blame and instead, to embrace the realization that undocumented youth and children of undocumented parents deserve the same opportunities for health and well-being as any child growing up in America.

So relevant today!