tags: , , , , AVEF, Press Releases

Fighting Deportation Is a Family Affair

Share This:

Fatiha Elgharib’s Daughters, Sister-In-Law Ask for Compassion in Mom’s Deportation Case

Englewood, OH – Deportation does not just affect the individual, it affects families, communities, and society.  That is why fighting Fatiha Elgharib’s case is an all-consuming family affair for her daughters, Wafaa and Sara Hamdi, and sister-in-law Denise Hamdi.

They advocate with fifteen year-old Sami in mind.  Sami is Fatiha’s youngest child, an American citizen with Down Syndrome and serious medical needs.  If Sami’s mom is deported, he will either lose his right hand and chief advocate, or he will have to go with Fatiha to Morocco.  In Morocco, Sami would face a society that treats people like him as outcasts, and risk his life due to lack of access to medical treatments.

Again, Sami is a U.S. citizen.  His struggle has compelled many people to speak out against Fatiha’s deportation, including well-known advocates for people with Down Syndrome likeCourtney Hansen, and Disability Voices United Executive Director Judy Mark.

“The campaign that Wafaa, Sara, and Denise are waging is the definition of true love,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio.  “Immigration law allows for exceptions to deportation in cases like these.  Fatiha has been allowed to remain in the U.S. to care for Sami for ten years.  He needs her, and he has a right to live his best life possible.  All the government has to do in this case is renew Fatiha’s stay of deportation, and the Elgharib/Hamdi family can go back to living their normal, quiet lives.”

Wafaa kicked off her family’s efforts this August, when a Tweet she sent went viral.  “Twitter, I need you,” Wafaa wrote.  “They want to take my mom from me and my family.  Please RT.”  Her post was retweeted 115,000 times.  Like Sami, Wafaa is also a U.S. citizen.

Sara, Fatiha’s eldest daughter and a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, wrote a searing blog post full of intimate family photos, entitled “Is my story being erased?”  In it, she writes:

What I wish I could convey is that what is happening to our family isn’t about the integrity of the law—we have tried every option available to be honest, fair, and respectful of the system and the values it’s supposed to uphold, and we continue to do so in the face of its mistreatment of us.

What is happening is not about protecting American communities—my 15-year-old brother, a citizen by birth, is about to lose his main source of care and support. While I am a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, my status will soon be in limbo, too, since the administration revoked the program. And then what will my brother do? And what of the communities that my sister and I are enmeshed in, that we’ve contributed to? People make up communities, not their papers. I was 5 when I came here. I went from kindergarten through high school here. This is my country, these are my people.

Sara and her aunt, Denise Hamdi, have participated in multiple media interviews.  The case has been covered extensively by the Dayton Daily News and other local outlets.  As Denise said recently: “I don’t think most Americans realise that the folks who are being targeted are really the ones who try to cooperate with officials and don’t hide.”

Sara and Wafaa’s struggle was profiled in this Teen Vogue piece, and featured in a Dose video that currently has 112,000 views.

The Hamdi women have also been asking Ohio Senators Portman and Brown and their US Representative Mike Turner for support.  Last week, Sara traveled to DC along with seven other “Dreamers” from Ohio, to further press her mom’s case.

This month, Fatiha’s case (summary here) was granted a rare, 30-day reprieve to go through another level of review.  Shortly before Christmas, her family will find out what the government’s final decision brings.

“It’s not easy to put your life out there like this – describing your worst fears and most intimate problems to the media.  You do this because you have no other choice.  Wafaa, Sara, and Denise are bravely waging a campaign of love to keep Fatiha where she belongs, in Ohio, right by Sami’s side,” said Tramonte.  “Our government has a lever for compassion in cases like these.  It simply has to choose to use it.”

  • Read all about Fatiha’s deportation case at America’s Voice here