Immigration injustice - why the collective voice of the CMHNetwork needs to care

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With the first drafts of an immigration overhaul expected to be released this month or next, hundreds of civil rights, health, labor, and religious groups are asking the president and members of Congress to include health care coverage in any legislative package. Read the article here.

Network faithful know too well that mental health challenges know no boundaries - including those families impacted by immigration. This is a subject many don't like to delve into but we need to. In a community assessment several years ago in El Paso, Texas, I will never forget the chilling stories from families with children receiving mental health services, describing the fear they felt when dropping their children off at elementary school, knowing full well that Immigration officers would often be waiting outside the school gates looking for "illegals", as they were derisively called, to deport from the United States. It is hard to fathom the mental health challenges families must face when dealing with these primal, devastating issues on a daily basis.

If the Network is truly a collective voice then we need to do more to embrace the voices of families impacted by immigration challenges and the providers, policy-makers and communities who are committed to meeting their needs in humane ways.

So let's start our commitment by introducing you through video to Pedro, who was only 8-years-old when brought to the U.S. by his parents, Pedro (now married and with a son of his own) is arrested by U.S. immigration authorities in Durham, North Carolina and detained for 19 grueling months. This exceptional new documentary tells one family's story of courage and determination to fight the injustice of current U.S. immigration policies, not only for themselves but for all those who find themselves caught in a web through no fault of their own.

Sometimes something as simple as putting a face to a concept or theoretical discussion changes things. Watch Pedro's story and then share with us your stories of dealing with immigration - either personally or with the families you work on behalf of. The conversation begins now.

Glenn Fogle, the Guzmans' immigration attorney, explains it this way:


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