At today’s Congressional briefing on American families in deportation, one of the speakers was Seleste Wisniewski, a mother of four whose husband Pedro was almost deported last year. Pedro and Seleste’s oldest son, 24-year-old Juan, has severe cerebral palsy and is completely reliant upon others to take care of his most basic needs. Pedro is the one who moves him from the bed to the wheelchair and bathes him, and is the only one in the house who can lift him.
After coming within hours of deportation last year, Pedro was granted a last-minute stay, keeping him with his family until at least August of this year. Pedro, Seleste, and their children were lucky — another speaker today, Maria, saw her husband Brigido deported in November. Even so, Pedro is not out of the woods yet. When his case comes back up in August, the family will have to fight to keep him in the US all over again.
In her statement, Seleste referenced both her story and Maria’s:
I can tell you now, family life is not taken into consideration [when ICE considers whether or not to deport someone]. I was begging them, put TWO ankle bracelets on every member of this household! But don’t take this man. Please, don’t take my husband. I can’t pack up and go to Mexico. I can barely pack up and take my son to Wal-Mart…
I don’t care if I lose everything — live under a tree and suck a dry chicken bone. I have to please make sure Pedro gets to stay here. We got a stay granted, and he’s here with me today. But why can’t this be Maria? I don’t feel happy. I don’t feel happy, and I’m not at peace. Maria has her little boy here, who has a hole in his soul the size of Brigido. Who’s going to show him to how to play basketball? Pedro’s here, showing [my son] Luis how to play basketball and tie his shoes, and being my right-hand man like he always has. But Maria’s family doesn’t have this opportunity.