Opinion: No one deserves to be separated from their family

NBC Latino
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July 3, 2013

My husband, Alfonso Garcia, has a generous spirit, a warm heart, a beaming smile, and a laugh that can be heard from a mile away. In the 12 years we’ve been together, we’ve never been apart for more than a few days.  I always thought we were inseparable until the federal government proved me wrong.

In June 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took my husband away from me.  Alfonso, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was detained after a routine traffic stop. Because of federal immigration policies that allowed cooperation between local law enforcement and federal deportation officials, undocumented immigrants like Alfonso could be targeted, detained and deported for something as minor as a right on red.

Waking up in an empty bed the next day, my thoughts raced: “Where is my husband?” “Is he in physical danger?” “Have they already sent him to Mexico?” “Will I ever see him in our country again?” I felt so powerless and overwhelmed I collapsed on the floor in tears.

GLAAD helped author Brian Willingham to elevate his story, which reflects concrete harms caused by federal laws and policies.