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Four siblings faced with an impossible decision after their mother was deported.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.”

“Some are good and some are rapists and some are killers. We don’t even know what we’re getting.”

It’s easy to assume the President of the United States of America Donald Trump doesn’t like Mexicans. He’s threatened to build a wall “to keep the illegals out”.

For most of us, these remarks are cause for another eye-roll. We might talk about them with friends over dinner tables and with colleagues in the lunch room. They have no impact on our lives, other than the way we think about America; it’s President; and the events likely to follow.

We are the lucky ones.

For others, these comments strike a place that is all-too real.

They are the children of the ‘illegals’. Their families. The ‘illegals’ themselves, even.

As we are discussing Trump’s vitriol, they are living it. Here’s one story of a family’s survival after a mother of four was deported from the US in 2010.

It was uncovered by California Sunday and now, more than ever, it’s a story happening everywhere.

Tell Me It’s Going To Be OK. Post continues below.

It was a hot afternoon in Pheonix, Arizona, and school had closed for the day. Angel Marin, 10 and his 14-year-old sister Yesi were walking home when they met their cousin on the street. It was clear something was wrong.

Their mother Gloria had been arrested without warning. The trailer they lived in was a mess of upturned furniture and their mum’s clothes strewn across the floor.

They stood there – with their two other sisters, Evelyn, 15, and Briza, seven – surveying the damage. They vowed not to tell anyone.

Their mother, a woman without a visa, had been working with a man who’d been discovered by police to be helping other illegal immigrants. She was arrested as an accomplice and faced deportation.

The kids had no warning. “Nobody told us anything,” Yesi told California Sunday. “Why would they do this?” Briza added.

Children were faced with an impossible choice when their mother was deported to Mexico. Image via iStock.
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Their plan of carry-on-in-silence didn't last long, of course. Soon child services were involved and the four kids were shipped between the homes of family members; Angel's father; a boarding school; and a public house for young women and girls.

They would often feed themselves, left for weeks at a time without supervision. They would have parties, smoke dope, school was not a priority. But they were kind to each other, too. Angel suffered debilitating asthma and, if his sister's heard him start to wheeze, they'd use the steam from boiling water to try and clear his airways. They made another pact: They were all in it together.

The four children would speak to Gloria on the phone intermittently. They were permitted to visit their mother only once while she was being held in the US. She sent cards and wrote letters frequently. In the Spring of 2013, five months after her deportation and three years after her arrest, the court gave permission for a family visitation to Mexico.

The children spent four hours with a mother they no longer recognised.

Gloria had lost weight, the circles under her eyes were darker. Her face was different. "Mum was grabbing my hand, and it felt weird," Angel said. "Like it was a stranger holding my hand."

A kinder post-Trump world. Post continues below.

In July of that year, Angel, Yesi, Evelyn and Briza were forced to make a decision.

They had to stand up in a court room and tell a stranger, a judge wearing robes, if they wanted to live with their mother or if they wanted to stay in the US.

Four children, all born in the US and innocent victims in a terrible situation, were faced with an impossible choice: remain in the country that was their home, or live with their mother in a strange place that seemed "foreign and dangerous".

"You’re always going to be my mum. I’ll never forget that," Angel told his mum on the phone the day before the hearing. "But I’m going to say in court that I don’t want to go to Mexico."

Only Briza crossed the border.

The others would visit, of course. During one trip, Yesi considered staying for good. "Home is wherever [mum] is," she told California Sunday.

Still, returned to live her life in the only place she'd ever known it to be: America. After that visit she spent a week in bed avoiding her mother's calls.

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