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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

When separation and deportation hits close to home

Andrew Schultz


At 10 years old, Liliana Torres, whose name we have changed to protect her identity, experienced family separation for the first time when immigration authorities came to her neighborhood and detained and deported her uncle. 

“So I had to have that really awkward talk with my parents after experiencing this really traumatizing event of like having to hide when these immigration officers were around and searching these houses because we lived across the street and they actually searched our house from the outside and I saw these flashlights and everything.”    

Five years later separation hit close to home again when her father was detained by the police and deported. Her mother, herself and her brother had to take on additional job responsibilities to make ends meet.  This included her mother working over 60 hours per week.

"At the time we were a household of six and without my dad it would have been five and three of my siblings and I and my mom basically had to support us.” 

After her father was deported, Torres remembers feeling a kind of physical and emotional isolation. 

“There is almost like this isolation away from the people you grow up with. Like with my dad I who I was a total “daddy’s girl” with when I was younger and after all of these incidents I didn’t have the same opportunities to bond with my dad."

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.  

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