December 19, 2014

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Vigil held in Lorain to pray for undocumented immigrants

A vigil to pray for undocumented immigrants facing deportation was held Friday at Veteran's Park in Lorain. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

A vigil to pray for undocumented immigrants facing deportation was held Friday at Veteran’s Park in Lorain. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

LORAIN — All Anabel Barron could think about as she was turned away at the United States border 13 years ago was the last — seemingly innocuous — time she had seen her children in the States.

“You don’t say goodbye … you’re just gone,” Barron said.

The moment sticks out in her mind; Barron was 20 years old and attempting to return to the U.S. from a short visit to Mexico to attend her mother’s funeral when she was turned away at the border.

“That was the first time they knew I was (undocumented)” Barron said.

Though Barron made it back into the United States shortly after, the incident followed her for 13 years until May when she was jailed in Lorain for being an undocumented immigrant.

In February, 33 year-old Barron will most likely be deported to Mexico.

“I try not to think about it,” she said, adding that she loves every moment she can spend with her four children before they are separated in a few months. “I want to enjoy Christmas.”

100413_DEPORTATIONVIGIL_KB01Barron’s story echoes the stories of many other undocumented Lorain residents who gathered at a vigil in Veterans Park on Friday night to support each other and pray for undocumented immigrants who are facing deportation. The vigil was hosted by HOLA, a grassroots Latino organization focusing on advocacy and outreach in the community.

Over the course of an hour and a half, supporters of HOLA lit candles and lead prayers and discussions — all primarily focused on the effect deportation has on family life.

“What are we doing taking their father away? We can’t think of a solution to this?” said Veronica Dahlberg, executive director of HOLA, discussing one of the many children in the crowd whose father is facing deportation.

“Americans care about families and children,” Dahlberg said, adding that many undocumented immigrants are afraid to discuss immigration laws for fear of deportation. By focusing on the effect deportation has on children and families Dalberg said, people will be “moved to act.”

For Barron, who knows she will have to leave her children in four months, protesting immigration laws is a way to ensure that others don’t have to go through what her family is going through.

“I’m not afraid anymore,” Barron said. “If I make a noise, we might win.”

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.