"Felons Have Families Too"

In a speech in November 2014, President Obama announced the increased deportation of illegal immigrants with a criminal record because they threatened the security of Americans. He emphasized that this only concerned felons, not families - but felons have families, too, counters the organization Families for Freedom. Hbs media fellow Dawid Krawzcyk visited them at their office in New York to find out more about their work:

"You have reached the offices of Families for Freedom. To reach Abraham Paulos press 1. To reach Cindy Martinez press 2". The line is busy. I try another number, indicated on the website as the hot line.

"Thank you for calling Families for Freedom. Please, dial 0 at this moment to speak with a representative."

Busy again. I try to reach them for the next few days, calling only the first number; the other one is reserved for people threatened with deportation. I have memorized the female voice recorded on the voice machine that utters these few words, first in English, and then in Spanish: "You have reached the offices of Families for Freedom… Llamaron a la oficina de Familias por la libertad…" Finally, Cindy answers. I make an appointment in the offices in Midtown Manhattan, a few hundred meters from Madison Square Garden, and two blocks from the Empire State Building.

In front of the entrance there is a scaffolding. Glass doors with number 35 are squeezed in between jewellery shops and a Western Union stand with MetroCards, sim cards and lottery tickets. I make a mistake in the elevator and exit on the sixth floor, into a karate school. Families for Freedom are one floor above, in room 702.


To read the full article as it appeared on Political Critique on January 29, 2016 click here.

Research was made possible by the Transatlantic Media Fellowship Program.  

Please note that the views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of the Heinrich Boell Foundation.