Eleven-year-old Estela Juarez denounced Trump’s immigration policies that led to the deportation of her mom in a letter she read that aired during the Democratic National Convention. Her mother, Alejandra Juarez, was featured in the Netflix documentary series Living Undocumented, but despite the attention, she has been unable to return since she was deported in 2018.
“Dear Donald Trump, my name is Estela,” she begins. “My mom is my best friend. She came to America as a teenager over 20 years ago, without papers, in search of a better life.” She then adds, “My dad thought you would protect military families, so he voted for you in 2016, Mr. President,” Estela says. “He says he won’t vote for you again after what you did to our family. Instead of protecting us, you tore our world apart.”
In the two-minute speech, she shared that her mom crossed the border at 18, worked and paid taxes, and married her father, Temo Juarez, a naturalized citizen. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and voted for Trump in 2016 because he thought he would protect military families.
Estela’s parents raised her and her 18-year-old sister Pamela in Davenport, a town in central Florida, and it was during a traffic stop in 2013 that her mom was found to be undocumented. She was considered low-priority and was required to check in twice a year with immigration and customs officials. Everything changed in 2017 when ICE informed Alejandra that everyone without documentation was now classified for high-priority deportation. Alejandra left for Mexico in August 2018.
“My mom is a good person and is not a criminal. Now, my mom is gone and she has been taken from us for no reason at all.”
Tonight at #DNC2020 the Juarez family is fighting to be reunited after being separated under Trump. Rooting for them tonight – Alejandra and her daughters Estela and Pamela and to see the end of family separation. #FamiliesBelongTogether. #BringAlejandraHome pic.twitter.com/D9iCkKoJ8p
— Hemly Ordoñez (@hemlyMO) August 20, 2020
Alejandra wrote about her specific situation in a blog post entitled “Finding Hope After Deportation,” where she explained that she couldn’t change her legal status due to a strict law from the Clinton era. In 1996 she signed away the chance to ever change her status because she had crossed illegally even though she wasn’t a criminal and married a naturalized citizen. She shared that she didn’t understand what she had signed despite having a translator. Alejandra Juarez told The Ledger the family isn’t doing interviews until they receive a promise from Biden that if elected he will overrule her deportation.
During the video, there’s footage of children crying out for their parents while in cages at deportation centers juxtaposed with Trump’s hateful speeches directed at immigrants. There’s also footage of the girls in tears at the thought of being separated from their mother. “Every day that passes you deport more moms and dads, and take them away from kids like me… Mr. President, my mom is the wife of a proud American marine, and a mother of two American children,” she added. “We are American families. We need a president who will bring people together, not tear them apart.”