MEXICO CITY — Beneath the slogan “Obama, don’t deport my Mama,” dozens of migrant families deported from the U.S. despite having children born there rallied outside the U.S. Embassy before President Barack Obama’s arrival Thursday, demanding passage of a U.S. immigration law they say is vital to keeping families together.
Vladimir Mejia Franco, 12, held a hand-lettered sign that said “Obama, Stop Deportations.” The American citizen born in St. Louis was 4 when his parents were deported in 2005. The family later split up after his father legally returned to the United States and started another family there. Vladimir lives in Mexico with his mother, Veronica Mejia Franco, 32, formerly a housekeeper at a St. Louis hotel who says she has a hard time finding work in the western Mexican state of Michoacan.
Echoing the march’s slogan, Mejia Franco said “that’s exactly what happened to us.”
“He says that when he grows up he wants to go back, but he doesn’t know English or anything,” Mejia Franco said of her son. “He wants to go now, to learn English, but he doesn’t want to leave me behind.”
Similarly, immigration advocates in the U.S. have been angered by record numbers of deportations under Obama, which they say is splitting up families.