Former Phoenix, Arizona, resident Amelia Reyes Jimenez has not seen any of her four children in nearly four years.
According to ABC News, Reyes Jimenez had all four of her children taken from her in 2008, when she was arrested in front of them literally months after giving birth to her youngest child, who was 3 months old at the time. Authorities raided Reyes Jimenez’s apartment and took her into custody on account of child endangerment, as her 13-year-old son, Cesar, was left in the family’s apartment alone. Reyes Jimenez believed that her son was with her two eldest daughters and their father, but the other family members had left Cesar alone when they went to a nearby park. Reyes Jimenez arrived home to find police already at her home. Because she did not have the correct immigration forms, she was immediately handcuffed and taken away.
Moved to a deportation center, Reyes Jimenez fought for more than two years to win her four children back from the Phoenix-area Eloy Detention Center. Now living in her home country of Mexico, a Phoenix judge has terminated Reyes Jimenez’s parental rights, and she is unsure as to whether she will ever see her children again. According to the source, her three daughters are being adopted by one family, and Cesar is being adopted by another. All four of her children have U.S. citizenship.
Reyes Jimenez is far from being alone in her separation from her children. According to a recent report from the Applied Research Center, more than 5,000 children are in the United States foster care system as a result of their parents’ deportation. In total, more than 46,000 of the undocumented United States residents who have been deported have children with citizenship in the United States.