"Sign in, and please go leave your money in the car," he said again. My hand was shaking. The officer at the T. Hutto Immigration Detention Center was peering at me. Going in as a mom disguised as an Attorney, I was nervous. Yes, practically, I was there to represent my Client, but the mom in me made me want to protect my client and her children to the ends of the earth.
I sat in a glass box waiting for my Client, and she walked in. Stoic, fresh from the shower, with eyes of despair. We looked at each other, mother to mother, and I wanted to apologize. Apologize that this woman, escaping gang violence, walking hundreds of miles in the heat, had ended up here in a glass box.
"Tiene hijos?" I queried in conversational spanish. "Si, tres hijos," she responded, and my heart sank. I knew the next question, and I did not want to ask it. "Donde?" I whispered, "where are they?"
She did not know. Her three children — all under the age of twelve — were taken from her, and hopefully, they were somewhere in Texas. "I pray they are safe," she told me. I couldn’t guarantee they were, so I just said, "I pray, too."
Moms have an understanding that transcends languages and borders. Children are children no matter where in the world they are from, and all have the same basic needs — to be safe and loved. I don't often pray on my cases, but for this one, I beseech for a happy ending.