May 10, 2022 10:07 AM

This Mother’s Day, Refugees and Immigrants Call for Action to Support Families and Stop Family Separation

WASHINGTON- As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, Refugee Congress and We Are All America call attention to the need for action to support mothers who must flee violence and persecution, and we celebrate the love and strength of those mothers.

Violence and displacement particularly endanger women and children, and mothers and fathers often have to face incredibly difficult challenges and choices as they seek to keep themselves and their families safe. For many former refugees and asylees, Mother’s Day is a time for remembering difficult moments of family separation, violence toward family members and the love and connection they have with their mothers and other family members.

Within the past year alone, we have witnessed horrific scenes of family separation and violence toward mothers and children. The majority of Ukrainian refugees in Poland are women and children who are separated from fathers and older male children who remained in Ukraine or have been killed. They face unique challenges of finding childcare, work and education to support their families in a new country, and this is not unique. In fact, 80 percent of all refugees worldwide are women or children. Refugee women may give birth while traveling, carry newborns for miles or miscarry due to harsh conditions, and the health risks to pregnant women and children are particularly grave as they flee violence.

Forced family separation is also happening due to U.S. policies such as Title 42, including babies and children sent on deportation flights to Haiti and attacks on unaccompanied children seeking to reunite with their families in the United States. Refugees and immigrants in the U.S. also struggle to reunite with family members as they navigate an immigration system with restrictive sponsorship practices that often prevent them from doing so. A lack of a clear pathway to citizenship puts undocumented parents and children at risk for deportation and family separation.

This Mother’s Day, refugee and immigrant advocates call on our elected officials to end all forms of family separation. All parents, including refugees and asylum seekers, have the right to nurture their children in safe and healthy environments.

"This Mother's Day, I would like to honor the love, strength and courage of refugee and immigrant women who have continued to strive and provide for their families and keep their families safe. Knowing the sacrifices of refugee mothers like mine and so many others, it is vital that we call on our elected officials to finally put an end to family separation and provide refugee and immigrant parents the support they need to take care of their families,” said Kosar Kosar, Multicultural Organizer at Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and We Are All America.

“Motherhood is a beautiful thing worth celebrating every single day. I want to take this time and recognize all the wonderful mothers who have provided their all, in hopes of a much better opportunity for their children. I want to thank my mom for risking her own life by walking hundreds of miles with three babies to ensure our safety during the war. Thank you!" said Olive Bukuru, Refugee Congress Delegate for Oregon.

"Mothers are our strong Pillars. Their resilience and sacrifice are unmatched—Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and every amazing mother out there,” said Sharon Njie, Refugee Congress Delegate for Louisiana.

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