I recently graduated from high school, proud of my accomplishment, but so disappointed that I could not share my pride with my mom. Three years ago, my mother was deported to our native Nicaragua, a country I haven’t seen since I was a toddler and that wasn’t home anymore to me or my mom.
After my mom’s deportation, my twin brother and I were separated, and I ended up in the foster-care system. Aging out of the foster-care system was the turning point for me. I realized that I still really needed my family. I needed a home. On a daily basis, I experienced the hurt and painful challenges of being alone in America.
I am concerned that as Sen. Marco Rubio negotiates immigration reform, he is threatening to walk away from the bill he helped draft ( Marco Rubio and immigration-reform, June 5). I want him to be a leader and I want him to keep my family in mind as he debates with both his fellow Republican and Democratic senators.
In his efforts to get other conservatives to back the bill, Sen. Rubio should not betray the Hispanic community by making the path to citizenship harder or leaving people out. He should not make the prospect of unity for families like mine more remote.
I know Sen. Rubio is being criticized by some in his own party for his leadership on immigration. But I’d like to think that doing the right thing can sometimes bring political rewards. At a time when politicians always seem to do what’s easy rather than what’s just, showing true leadership and fighting for families like mine will not be forgotten.
Rubio has a historic opportunity, and thousands of Florida families and millions of Hispanic voters are waiting to see whether he steps up and truly leads. I hope he continues to champion a real and achievable path to citizenship and to fight for reuniting families like mine. I want my mom to be able to come back to Florida and celebrate my graduation with me.
We will keep watching to see whether Sen. Rubio stands with our community or the anti-immigrant extremists in his party.
Jose Machado, Miami