‘Dream 9’ mom protests boro immigration event

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Christina Santucci

Among two dozen protesters outside the Becoming America Congressional Delegation’s event in Jackson Heights Saturday was a mother who knows firsthand how the country’s immigration policy can affect a family.

Natalia Mendez’s son, Marco Savaadre, is being detained in Eloy Detention Center in Arizona after he and eight other undocumented immigrants, who are now being called the “Dream 9,” entered the United States last month to protest the number of people deported in recent years, his mother said.

Savaadre, a 23-year-old graduate of Kenyon College, and three others had been brought to the United States illegally as children and were living in the country when they voluntarily flew back to Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The trio was joined by six others, who had returned to Mexico mostly for personal reasons more than a year earlier, in their attempt to cross the border July 22 legally through the Nogales River and openly admit their immigration status, the Times reported. The group asked to be allowed to enter through humanitarian parole because their presence in the country would serve “an important public interest,” their lawyer told the Associated Press.

Mendez, who spends most of her time working at the restaurant she owns in the Bronx, had not heard from her son immediately after he was detained, but recently he has been able to call her, she said during a phone interview Tuesday. She was unsure when she would be able to see him again.

On Saturday, the 43-year-old mother hoped to bring attention to her son and the other “dreamers” by reaching out in person to members of Congress who attended the western Queens event. Mendez managed to speak with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) for several minutes outside the Jackson Heights Jewish Center, where he said he and other federal legislators had written letters to President Barak Obama asking for the Dream 9 to be released.

But for the Bronx mother, her trip to Queens did not provide her with the outcome she has been seeking for more than a week.

“I will be completely satisfied when I have my son by my side,” she said.

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