By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – An Asian-American civil rights organization has launched a petition drive to save two California families from deportation.
The San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus initiated the campaign to prevent the Lee and Rahayuningsih families from being sent back to countries their children are not familiar with.
In a statement released Friday, ALC said that both families have children who would suffer irreparable harm if their parents are sent back.
The Lee family, who came to the United States more than 15 years ago, has a son, Alex Lee, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, causing him to be blind and to have limited mobility.
He is eligible to remain in the country legally under the deferred action program that President Obama signed last year.
But he is unable to take care of himself and live independently and will suffer greatly if his parents and siblings are deported, the ALC said.
It’s the same situation with the Rahayuningsih family, whose daughter, Putri, was granted permission to stay but her parents may be deported.
“My parents are my foundation. They are not less deserving than me. Granting us deferred action and then turning around to take our parents doesn’t make things right.”said Putri.
The executive order Obama signed in June allows Putri, Alex Lee, and others who were brought to the United States as children to stay and work temporarily for two years and seek legal status.
But their parents are not covered by the same regulations and could be deported, even though their qualified children may remain in the country.
“With parents making up nearly half of people being deported, thousands of families face being torn apart this holiday season,” the ALC said.
The Obama administration deported a record 409,849 immigrants in 2012 and 396,906 in 2011, records at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show.