Forced Out: When Leaving the Country Means Leaving Your Kids Behind



Forced Out: When Leaving the Country Means Leaving Your Kids

Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, a Highland Hospital nurse in Oakland, and her husband this week ended their fight to remain in the U.S. after federal immigration authorities denied a last-ditch plea to stay.

Maria, her husband Eusebio Sanchez, and their 12-year-old son, Jesus, boarded a flight at San Francisco International Airport for Mexico City less than an hour before a federal deportation order expired late Wednesday for the couple — leaving behind their three daughters, two of them adults and one a teenager.

Maria Mendoza-Sanchez sits on a couch in her Oakland home on Aug. 16, 2017, hours before she, her husband and son leave Oakland for Mexico City. Her daughter, Melin Sanchez, 21, cries as she watches her mother with concern. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Sanchez spent her last day in the U.S. doing somewhat routine things: She took her daughter, Elizabeth, 16, to her first day of school as a sophomore and she went to the bank.

But she did some out-of-the-ordinary things, too: She granted power of attorney to her eldest daughter, Vianney, 23. She packed her belongings. And she put her nursing uniforms into a storage box.

“I’m sorry I won’t be there to serve them anymore,” she said of her patients in the oncology and cardiology unit of Highland Hospital, Alameda County’s trauma center. “But one day I will be back, that’s for sure.”

Eusebio Sanchez supports his wife, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, in their Oakland home on Aug. 16, 2017, hours before they leave for Mexico City after federal immigration authorities denied their request for a reprieve. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

The couple came to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, settling in Oakland in 1994. Maria graduated from Holy Names University with a nursing degree while raising their children. Eusebio worked in construction and eventually became a truck driver.

The couple have no criminal records, and have been undocumented during their time in the U.S. Vianney is protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, while their three younger kids are U.S. citizens.

“Fighting an immigration case when you are a Mexican is really three times as difficult as it is other communities,” Maria said as she tried to hold back tears. “It doesn’t matter how hard you work. It doesn’t matter what you do.”

Melin Sanchez, 21, cries as she hugs a neighbor who lives across the street. People drop by the Oakland home on Aug. 16, 2017, hours before Melin’s mother and father leave for Mexico City after federal immigration authorities rejected their last-ditch appeal to stay. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Under the Obama administration, the couple received two stays, along with legal work visas, to remain in the U.S. But when they applied for another stay in May 2017, federal immigration officials limited it to 90 days — after which they would be deported.

The family was hoping for a reprieve with the help of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. But on Tuesday afternoon, Feinstein called to tell them that federal immigration agents had denied their request for another stay, the senator’s office said.

“All possible avenues to delay their departure have been denied by the Trump administration in what I believe is an act utterly devoid of humanity,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This is a travesty, plain and simple, and evidence that Donald Trump’s immigration ‎policy is nothing more than a hateful deportation program targeting law-abiding families. It’s shameful and stands against the very ideals upon which this country was founded.”

Melin Sanchez, right, is comforted by a friend as they listen to Sanchez’s mother, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, talk to the press hours before she, her husband and their son leave for Mexico City on Aug. 16, 2017. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

In a statement to KQED from  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Western Region, the agency confirmed the denial. But ICE added that it gave the couple enough time “to get their personal affairs in order and make preparations for their departure.”

Sanchez said she and her husband prepared their three daughters for life without them in the U.S.: Vianney, a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, will be the legal guardian of Elizabeth as she finishes high school. Their middle daughter, Melin, 21, will stay to finish her last year at UC Santa Cruz.

In Maria’s last hours before flying to Mexico City, Elizabeth came home from her first day of school. She sat on the couch next to her mom and rested her head on her mom’s shoulder.

The two discussed her first day of school — knowing moments like these were coming to an end.

Maria said she also had a conversation with her kids that a parent doesn’t ever think they’ll have.

“Yes, indeed, you separate from your parents but you don’t have to worry about rent, you don’t have to worry about food, and then you’ll be able to finish school,” she recalled telling her daughters.

Luggage for Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, her husband Eusebio, and their 12-year-old son, Jesus, stacked near the door of their Oakland home on Aug. 16, 2017. They left for Mexico City late Wednesday after living in the U.S. for more than 20 years. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Though she is having to leave, Sanchez said what she’s taking with her to Mexico — her memories — no one can take away.

“Because it’s in my heart and it’s in my mind,” she said.

Photos of the Sanchez family and a sign about nursing decorate a shelf in their home in Oakland on Aug. 16, 2017. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Dalai Lama speaks at UCSD commencement amid Chinese student objection


Dalai Lama speaks at UCSD commencement amid Chinese student objection



dalai lama ucsd

The Dalai Lama speaks to the crowd at the start of a press conference at the University of California-San Diego, June 16, 2017. The Dalai Lama gave a speech titled “Embracing the Beauty of Diversity in Our World.” He is in San Diego to deliver a commencement speech to the university graduates on June 17, 2017. (Photo: Bill Wechter, AFP/Getty Images)

This year, the trend of college students protesting against speakers they find to be offensive or oppressive has led to the cancellation of speeches by such figures as alt-right writer Milo Yiannopoulos and pundit Ann Coulter. But even when universities select figures renowned for their dedication to peace, their choices are not exempt from scrutiny.

The 14th Dalai Lama — a 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the spiritual leader of Tibet — is the latest speaker to drive controversy and protest on a college campus. He was invited by the University of California-San Diego to deliver the keynote at this year’s commencement. But not all students have celebrated his visit.

With the announcement of the Dalai Lama’s speech came opposition by many Chinese students, who say he stands for divisiveness with the goal of achieving Tibetan separatism from China. (Many Tibetans view China as an oppressor keeping them from expressing their culture and religion.)

There are about 4,600 international students from China at UCSD, with China sending the most students of any foreign country.

One campus organization, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), has been outspoken about its opposition to the Dalai Lama’s presence on campus. In statements made to its WeChat page, the CSSA said it would “resist the university’s unreasonable behavior.”

When UCSD stood behind its decision to host the Dalai Lama, a group of Chinese students met with university administrators to discuss their concerns and were assured by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla that the speech would not be political in nature, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Indeed, the Dalai Lama’s two talks at UCSD — in a public forum Friday, then at commencement exercises Saturday — focused on themes of diversity and compassion.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

“Embracing the Beauty of Diversity in Our World” @DalaiLama


But Chinese student Ruixuan Wang even wrote an op-ed in student paper the Guardian saying that the Dalai Lama’s very presence at graduation would “ruin our joy,” noting that many Chinese students’ families would also be present for graduation and affected by the speaker.

But the university held fast to the position that the Dalai Lama is a figure who represents peace and “global responsibility and service to humanity.”

“These are the ideals we aim to convey and instill in our students and graduates at UC San Diego,” university spokesperson Christine Clark wrote in an email to USA TODAY College. “Our focus and mission, including climate science and public good, and the messages by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama are aligned.”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at UCSD speaking on the importance of embracing diversity.


It’s not the first time the Dalai Lama has been protested by college students. In 2008 Chinese students at the University of Washington protested his visit to Seattle, expressing beliefs that the Dalai Lama himself was behind violence in Tibet.

This time around, Chinese students have used some of the same rhetoric as the Chinese government to oppose the Dalai Lama. The CSSA has ties with the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles to promote “news and messages from the government to our members.”

Not all Chinese students identify with the opposition, however. Jesse Zhou, a Chinese senior graduating from UCSD on Saturday, says he thinks the decision to host the Dalai Lama is a good one, but understands the concerns of some students.

“It’s a bit of a slap to the face to the international students who paid four to five years of tuition money,” Zhou wrote in a message to USA TODAY College.

On May 30, the CSSA held a demonstration on Library Walk — an area at the center of campus and a free-speech zone — with signs explaining their opposition to the speaker.

dalai lama ucsd protest

A demonstration by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association on May 30, 2017, at Library Walk on UCSD’s campus. (Photo: Jesse Zhao)

Ricky Flahive, the UCSD senior chosen to give the student speech at graduation, told USA TODAY College before graduation that this demonstration was one of the only visible forms of opposition from the organization. “Generally, most of the people know about it, but I haven’t seen it be very active,” Flahive says of the movement against the Dalai Lama’s speech. “I’ve heard excitement more than I’ve heard concern so far.”

And, Flahive says, the university prepared for the possibility of protest at commencement by adding a free-speech zone in the parking lot near the location of the graduation. As the student chosen to give a speech on the same stage following the keynote, Flahive said he was excited that the university was able to bring the Dalai Lama to UCSD. As far as the possibility of protest at commencement, Flahive says it doesn’t bother him.

“I don’t really mind, personally,” Flahive says. “As a political science major, I’m totally in support of peaceful demonstration.”

.@DalaiLama: “Whether believer or non-believer, we must all focus on deeper value of human kindness and compassion.”


Members of the Tibetan community gathered to meet the Dalai Lama during his public address on Friday morning and at the Saturday morning commencement. Tenzing Dolma, who just graduated from UC Berkeley, is a Tibetan refugee who came to the U.S. with her family when she was two years old. She joined a group of Tibetan students driving to San Diego for the occasion.

“We want to ensure that when he comes on campus that he sees us, and not them and he doesn’t get disheartened by seeing people protesting his commencement speech,” Dolma says. “Our issue is not with Chinese students, our issue is not with Chinese people. It’s with the government, it’s with the institution.”

Dolma says much of the information being put forth by students protesting is coming straight from the Chinese government and acts as propaganda, but says she is not opposed to the students protesting because they have a right to do so. And given that the Chinese government promotes a narrative of the Dalai Lama as being divisive, Dolma feels the decision to bring him as a commencement speaker is a symbol of acceptance.

“Tibetans all over the world rejoiced and were happy that there was finally this opportunity, this platform to show the world that there is another side,” Dolma says. “You’re seeing someone up there addressing an audience of young scholars, and it’s amazing to see that someone that can be, according to the Chinese students, a ‘polarizing figure’ has the opportunity and is granted the freedom of speech to speak when inside China, inside Tibet that’s not a reality.”

Jeanine Santucci is a student at Georgetown University and a USA TODAY College correspondent.

Are Black Folks Their Own Worse Enemy When It Comes To Interaction With Police?


I believe that I am just like most people here in the U.S. when it comes to police shootings, I am outraged and I am sick of them happening. Today we hear of another one in southern California in a suburb of San Diego where another unarmed black man was shot and killed by Officers. This morning photographs were shown of the event as it happened an in this case I have to back the Police Officers 100%. When a person reaches into their clothing and goes to a ‘shooter’ position and you, me or an Officer are only a few feet away directly in front of someone who did this you are going to shoot that person as fast as you can. You, me, or that Officer does not have any time in which to do anything except shoot or die. For anyone to say that the Officer should have waited to see what the man was going to do is either crazy or has a death wish of their own. Either that or maybe you are a mind reader who knew that the man didn’t just jerk a gun out on you. This is just one case of many though and I totally believe that all are not justified in use of ‘kill shots’ or of even any shots at all. Most all of us have seen videos lately of people being shot where it was obvious that either a stun gun or one non-lethal shot would have secured the situation without the use of ‘deadly force’.


One of the things that is badly hurting the relations with the Black folks in the U.S. and the different Police Departments is how the Media is portraying these events. If a person didn’t know any better it would be easy to believe that the only time a Police Officer ever pulls his weapon or fires it is if they are confronting a Black Person, usually a male. The Media in this Country needs to be much more professional in how they cover the news. What I mean by this is that the Media is not supposed to be in the business of ‘creating’ the news, they are supposed to be truthful, fair and honest but do you really believe that is how News Rooms behave? Many more non-Black folks are shot by Police Officers each year than Black folks are but when is the last time such shooting ever made the National Evening News? I am a person that tries to always honor the Uniform whenever possible but some times the person in the Uniform is a very low-class low intelligent person that should never ever be issued a Badge or a firearm. Just like %50 of all Doctors graduated in the bottom %50 of their class the same is so for Police Officers. These highly visible professions should be doing their best to never hire such people or when they realize they have hired them don’t protect them, fire them before they disgrace your profession! The case of the young man in Chicago where an Officer chased him down then shot him 16 or 17 times as he lay dead in the street is a good example of what I am speaking of. The Police Union gave him a job after the Mayor (who spent more than a year covering up the event to help protect his re-election campaign) fired him and the Union is paying this man’s legal bills and fighting to get him his job back. Where is the credibility of the Union, the Chicago Police Department and of the Mayor? To me, my belief is that there isn’t any in either of the three.


Now I am going to get more to the meat of this article and the meaning of the headline that I used for it today. Last evening I caught about two minutes of a news clip from Fox News where a middle-aged Black man was talking about these latest publicized shootings. I believe that the term he used a few times was “comply and stay alive.” He said that this was something that he was taught since he was a very young child and he is totally correct as far as I believe. I was a truck driver trainer for many years and one of the things I always stressed to the trainees was to be a wall flower, don’t do anything that will make the Police notice you. The reality is/was that if they notice you doing anything wrong you just gave them all the excuse they need to pull you over and if they pull you over it is going to cost you a lot of your paycheck. So, basically, don’t do anything stupid and hopefully they won’t choose you to pull over. These were grown men that I was training so you would hope that they would have some basic common sense if they did get pulled over and to not act like a macho ass because that will just cost you personally a lot more money, or worse. I preached to my son as he was growing up (he’s 23 now) that anytime that he was in the presence of a Police Officer to always treat the Officer with respect even if the Officer was acting like a punk-ass and even if the Officer that pulled you over for something that you did not do, don’t ever act like a punk-ass yourself. The reason is (as I told him) that every time you are in the presence of a Police Officer your financial life and your physical life are on the line so don’t act like a fool. There are some very ‘dirty’ Officers in our society but they have all of the power when you are in their presence, they have the power to fine you, beat you up or to shoot you dead so don’t act like a macho fool around them. Most Officers are good folks, some aren’t, so as ‘Dirty Harry’ said, “do you feel lucky punk?”


What we have noticed on almost every single video clip where these Black males have been shot by the Police the Black Male did everything that they should never ever be doing. As the man on Fox News said,”comply and stay alive.” When an Officer tells you to do something, do it, and don’t run your mouth at them even if you are right and the Officer is wrong, simply shut up. What we have all seen over and over again is where these Black males refused to do what they were told to do and in most cases concerning weapons or perceived weapons, they refused to drop them to the ground at once, as they were told to do. When an Officer tells you to drop whatever is in your hands even if you know it is not a weapon, it doesn’t mean that Officer knows that, so simply drop anything that is in your hands. If an Officer has a gun pointed at you then raise your empty hands up as high as you can so that they can know that you are not a threat to their lives. If you do happen to have a weapon on your body do not ever touch it but always tell the Officer where it is and let the Officer remove it from you. Always be very courteous with the Officer, do not act like a fool and end up dead on the ground, act like you have some sense. Viewing these videos of these Police shootings of Black males it honestly makes me wonder if the adults in Black families are having these common sense discussions with their children as they are growing up. Please folks, talk to your children so that they can grow up to be old men. Remember, it doesn’t matter if an Officer is right or wrong when you are in their presence, comply and stay alive, please!

Refugee Minor Children And Criminal Gangs At Our Southern Borders


AP: Most Unaccompanied Minors Placed With Illegals

According to a new review of federal data performed by the Associated Press, 80% of unaccompanied minors detained by the U.S. Border Patrol are being sent to live with family members who are in the country illegally. The Obama administration has made no secret of the fact that they place children with relatives regardless of their immigration status, but this is the first time Americans have gotten a comprehensive look at what that really means. As it turns out, illegal immigrants comprise the vast majority of homes where these children are placed.

The Department of Health and Human Services provided the data used by the AP in their analysis. In reviewing the documents, researchers found out exactly where federal officials sent the 71,000 Central American minors who surged across the border in 2014 and 2015. Not only were 80% sent to live with illegal immigrants, another 6% were sent to live with adults under temporary protected status. Only 4% of the children were placed with American citizens.

House Rep. Bob Goodlatte released a statement condemning the situation. “Since the president refuses to enforce our immigration laws, unlawful immigrants in the United States consistently pay criminal organizations along the border thousands of dollars to smuggle their family members into the United States,” he said.

Democrats, however, argue that there are no other answers. Rep. Zoe Lofgren said, “If you were here as a legal resident or a U.S. citizen, you would petition for your child. Their only route is political asylum. It is not the visa system.”

This is always going to be a touchy subject, because few Americans can be dispassionate enough to stand behind strict deportation policies, especially when they involve children.

But enough is enough! Isn’t it odd that the federal government can find these illegals when it’s time to place children with them, but they suddenly have no clue where they are when they skip their deportation hearings? Come on. This isn’t some sticky situation where no one knows what to do. This is the federal government playing dumb in the hopes that Americans won’t realize that this is a systematic effort on the part of the liberals.

Compassion is one thing, but it’s not compassionate to encourage thousands of children to embark on a life-threatening journey to the United States. It’s not compassionate to throw away 200 years of culture and traditions just because the Democrats can’t get citizens to vote for their idiotic policies. A country cannot be a country without defined, protected borders.


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