Nominating Organization: United We Dream

Evelyn with her mother in 2007

Evelyn with her mother in 2007

Christmas with the family before Evelyn's mother was deported

Christmas with the family before Evelyn's mother was deported

Evelyn with her sisters and father

Evelyn with her sisters and father

In 2007, my mom was driving me to my high school lacrosse practice. Suddenly, the police pulled us over for no reason and my mom was detained for driving without a license. She was taken to the local jail and after seeing that she had no legal status in the United States they placed an immigration hold on her case. She was then transferred to the Broward Transitional Center, a private detention center, where she was held for over four months and eventually deported to Colombia. My mother was forced to leave behind her husband and her three daughters. 

I was born in Colombia and moved to the US with my family when I was three years old. My parents made the brave and courageous decision to pursue the American Dream. They wanted us to live a life in a country where we could obtain a top-notch education and live free of the daily dangers of the Escobar era in the 1900s.

I am part of a mixed status family. My two sisters are US citizens, my dad is a legal permanent resident, I am undocumented, and my mother deported. I have lived in Florida for the past 22 years and am a proud Floridian.

After my mom was deported, my dad and I became in charge of the bills in the household; my younger sister was 13 years old at the time and my older sister finishing her BA at Florida State University. For the past 7 years I have been working full time as a immigrant youth organizer in order to start college to earn a nursing degree while still supporting my family by paying half of the expenses at home, and we have all been supporting our mom in Colombia.

We have not been together as a family since 2007. My sisters and I want to travel to Colombia together with our dad. We plan on surprising our mom! I have applied for advanced parole - a type of temporary travel document for educational purposes for undocumented residents. The Federation of Community Advisors and organizations of Afro-Colombian Base Communities of Antioquia (FEDECOBAN) in Colombia has requested my attendance to speak at seminars, classrooms and at community events on what the immigrant youth movement is like in the United States. I plan to participate in these events in my native country and also finally be reunited with my mother. 

My mother is absolutely amazing. My mother has taught me how to love, how to fight, and most importantly to have faith. I miss her every day and I want to be able to hug her whenever I want. I can't wait to see her. 


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The Chen Sisters

We are three sisters who immigrated from Taiwan to the United States when we were 1, 3, and 7 years old. We are extremely close with each other and our mother, who is our confidant and has always been our guide in life. Evelyn's story really struck a nerve with us - especially because she also has two sisters. We want to do everything we can to reunite Evelyn with her mother, and for the women in her family to finally be together again. 

The Chen sisters currently live in San Francisco. Nancy is Co-Founder & CEO of Omielife, Jane is Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer of Embrace, and Joyce is an Executive Producer at Venables Bell & Partners