At age 6, Jeidilii Pascual along with her two sisters were placed with foster families.
“Me and my other sister, we were together in one foster care and my other sister was alone,” says Pascual.
Jeidili's mother was here illegally. She was arrested after being caught driving without a license.
Her mother is now legal, finishing her paperwork years after she was arrested.
“Since my mom was a single mother, my dad was deported to Mexico. He stayed there and never came back,” she says.
Even though her mother only spent a week in jail, Jeidilii and her sisters spent a year and a half in foster care.
It’s been 12 years. She still remembers vividly the abuse from her foster family.
“I remember we didn't eat anything. There would be days we slept with hunger,” she says. “There was a certain weight we never passed because we wouldn't eat every day like a normal child. “
President Trump announced this week that dreamers will be allowed stay in the U.S for now but that doesn't mean their lives are easy.
The Department of Homeland Security made it clear that parents of those dreamers will not get the same benefits.
Jeidilii wanted to speak with us about her time in foster care since now many parents could be facing deportation.
“The abuse was constant. It was daily. It's something I want no other dreamer or child to go through. They deserve to be happy because they're children,” she says.
Jeidilii spent 7 years in therapy to deal with the long-lasting pain from the abuse.
“Foster care is not something we wish for children. It is not a place that we want to children. It's not a place we want to take children,” says Jeanne Tate, an adoption attorney in Tampa.
Tate has seen the good and bad in the foster care system.
She says if parents are in danger of getting deported, they need to have a plan B. Knowing a friend, a family member or even a teacher who could take care of the children if they leave.
Foster care should be a last resort.
“The state doesn't make a good parent,” says Tate.
Aside from being placed into foster care, dreamers also struggle in other parts of their lives.
The Migration Policy Institute did some extensive research on the issues Children whose parents are here illegally deal with:
- Lower preschool enrollment
- Reduced socio-economic progress
- Language barriers
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