Open Letter from Freedom Rider Julieta Bolivar

September 14, 2003

To whom this may concern,
I hope that when you get my letter you are feeling very well. But also I hope that your family is too. My name is Julieta L. Bolivar; I am Bolivian, which is in South America. I have 3 children, one beautiful girl named Miriam O. that is 13 years old, and 2 charming young boys named Ivan A., 10 years old and Jesus O. that is 8 years old.
If you may not know my life has changed since last year on August 2002 because I am in process of DEPORTATION to my native country of Bolivia. On that day my family of four and 5 other people were on our way to a Day Laborer National conference taking place in New York. On our way we had a problem. Because our tire had exploded in the middle of the highway. So then, we drove to the edge of the highway to change our tire. But we couldn’t. A moment later came a State Trooper named France. We all thought that he was going to help us since we were in a very lonely place. We were so happy when we saw him because we thought of all the help he would give us. But to our surprise he did the opposite. Instead of asking if we were all o,k, He saw the tire and knew what had happened to us. And right away he started to command saying “SHOW ME YOUR GREEN CARDS!!” Like me and two other people didn’t have our “green card’s” we couldn’t show it to him. Instead I took out my State I.D. from Illinois and he said that all the ID’s that were made in Illinois were fake; not real. I could tell on the look on my children’s face I knew that hey were very scared, but mostly with fear. They were very scared because they did not know what was happening and why I was getting arrested and handcuffed. I saw the hugging each other crying, but repeating to me what was happening and why I was getting handcuffed and put into the police car. They arrested me like if I was a criminal and like I had done a serious crime. But only crime that my partners and I did was not having the “green cards” that he had asked us to take out and show to him like he had asked us to. Just imagine for a moment, the fear that my children were facing because we were getting separated for that moment, since the state trooper said that I had to go with him to the police station and that my children would have to stay with the people that I hardly knew. I hardly knew them because we were all coming from different places and organizations that were in favor of defending the rights of the Immigrant workers. When I got to the police station, 2 people from the Immigration were already there waiting for us to take us with them. At that moment they had no clue that there were children and a women involved in this situation. I was so desperate that I wanted to see my children and know how they were after all that happened. And then I asked the lady from the INS if I could see my children. She said that it was impossible for me to see them. Like she said that was impossible I asked her why? And she responded saying that I was arrested and that I had to come with them. I asked her again how could I see my children and what I had to do to see them. And then she told me that if I wanted to see my children I had to sing the Voluntary Departure papers. I didn’t think that twice and I immediately I asked her where I had to sign. At that moment she didn’t have the papers with her. So she called the office if the INS and asked for them to send the Voluntary Departure papers by fax. I don’t remember how long I had to wait for the papers to get to the police station because I was so desperate and so nervous of what was going to happen to my children and thinking to myself if I would ever see my children again!! As I am writing this letter its like living this terrible moment again tears are still coming out. Finally when the papers got to the police station I signed them immediately. In the papers I put that I wanted to see a judge and a lawyer so I could stay with my children here where they were born. That’s why in the name of my 3 children I ask you to consider and support me in this situation so I could stay in this country where I also consider it mine. I consider it mine because I have lived here almost 17 years. I have worked hard to support my children and be there when they needed me. I have been active in different committees like schools, communities and organizations. And everything that I do is voluntary. I have learned English so I could help my children and other people. And that’s why people like me should have the opportunity to stay here and continue their life’s next to their children and not get separated. Because the children will not be better off with anyone else than with their mothers. That’s why I ask you not only for me but also for the people that already live in this country all their lives taking care of their families, to support the LEGALIZATION FOR ALL IMMIGRANTS FROM THE SOUTH, WEST, EAST AND ALL OTHER COUNTRIES. Because we are all humans and we should work together as a family. Because we do not come here to hurt anybody. Instead we come to work and help the economy.

1. Let us have legalization
2. Do not let anybody, but especially families get separated
3. Give the opportunity to the entire Immigrant children to have the right to an education because they are the future.


Sincerely and with all respect,
Julieta L. Bolivar

No comments: