Nancy Peredo, 33, crossed the desert from Mexico City nearly 13 years ago to come to the United States to protect her three young sons.
Her husband, Juan Carlos, had been in the US for a year. The separation was straining the family, she said.
Now Peredo and her family have made a home in Staten Island — where she lives in fear that she could be deported at any time, leaving her family split.
“I heard a lot of stories where families got torn apart and they never see each other again and it just needs to stop,” said Peredo’s son, Yan Valdez, 14, speaking from the family’s home on Tuesday.
“My father’s always telling me he wants our family to stick together, he doesn’t want us to go anywhere.”
Peredo is a part of a campaign by Make the Road New York and 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union across the city to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to pass an immigration bill similar to the one recently passed in the Senate.
The campaign will display large billboard-type signs on the side of buildings with photos of immigrants, statistics and messages to urge people to call their local representative to pass the reform bill.
The project will be displayed on buildings on the West Side Highway on the 4th of July before the fireworks.
Valdez, who plans to become a lawyer or doctor when he gets out of high school, said the family fears what would happen to them if they ever got deported, and recognized that coming forward could make them targets for deportation.
But he said they knew they needed to do everything possible to fight to get the bill passed.
“You keep trying and trying,” he said. “If you want something you’ve got to earn it, you’ve got to something about it.”
Last week, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill that will create new border-security measures and give over 11 million people illegally in the U.S. a shot at citizenship.
For Peredo, being able to stay in the country is all for her boys.
“My dream is my boys have a future that’s better than in my country,” she said. “This is my dream.”
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