By Britt Moreno
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A small room in a modest Boulder apartment recently erupted with laughter and high-pitched shrieks as two sisters relived family memories. The girls, ages 11 and 17, were sifting through photo albums of their family.
But that family image has changed since the memories were snapped. Their mom, Mercedes, told CBS4’s Britt Moreno that their father was deported after getting a traffic ticket.
Now, mom and her American-born daughters are worried Mercedes will be deported, too.
The girls watched Moreno interview their mom in Spanish and began to cry.
“Me and my sister both loved my dad and mom so much. It hurts to talk about it,” said Wendy.
A Boulder attorney was also at the family’s home when a CBS4 news crew was there.
“I get choked up thinking of children not having good care,” said Martha Hartney.
Hartney said Mercedes can rely on U.S. law even though she is undocumented. The law enables her to have a say on who cares for her daughters if she is deported.
Hartney said Mercedes can sign CHERP papers and decide who will have permanent guardianship for her kids. It’s called the Children’s Emergency Response Program. It’s free or donation based for immigrants and is available online or though an app. CHERP legally tells authorities who will care for children if their parents cannot.
“To see those little girls knowing someone has their back is a huge relief as a mom,” said Hartney.
Without CHERP, kids of undocumented immigrants would go into foster care or be put into child protective custody.
Mercedes has chosen to have her kids live with family friends if she is deported.
CBS4 was there when Mercedes signed the CHERP papers. She breathed a sign of relief, but her daughters still do not have peace of mind.
The girls don’t want to grow up without their dad, and certainly not their mom, either.
If you would like more information on legal family planning please go to gocherp.com.