Most kids at this time of year get ready to write letters to Santa Claus, but many children of undocumented immigrants now prefer to write President Barack Obama begging him to stop the deportations that are breaking up their families.
The campaign of the National Domestic Workers Alliance under the slogan "We Belong Together" aims to send the president letters from youngsters directly affected by the government's deportation policy.
"The message we want to send is that no children should be separated from their parents because of immigration laws," Marianna Viturra, deputy director of NDWA, told Efe.
The campaign that was launched Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 8 with an event in Washington, during which a number of kids will deliver letters to Congress and the White House, has collected 4,820 letters to date.
"At this festive time when we express our wishes it's important for youngsters to be able to say what they would like, and part of what they wish for is to be with their parents and their families and that these families stay in our communities," the activist said.
In one of these missives, young Ana Gisel asks the president if he could give her a present: "The present that I'd love you to give me is a law saying no more deportations."
"The voices of children on the subject are pretty strong and we hope the White House will listen to us," she says.
Among the local organizations taking part in the campaign is the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, which up to now has collected 540 letters.
The message we want to send is that no children should be separated from their parents because of immigration laws.
- Marianna Viturra, deputy director of NDWA
"In the week and a half we've been with the campaign, we've seen kids very beautifully taking part, many of them born in the United States, asking that their families not be deported," Adelina Nicholls, executive director of GLAHR, told Efe.
The suffering and "emotional impact" to children caused by families being separated will have enormous consequences as they grow up, she said.
"It's important that the kids themselves, in their own words, with their own drawings and ideas, write to President Barack Obama about what they feel and the worries they have about deportations," Nicholls said.
According to a study by the Applied Research Center, more than 5,000 children of immigrants have been living in foster care since their parents were deported.
The report, "Shattered Families," estimates that 15,000 other minors will suffer the same tragedy over the next five years if no change is made to the government's deportation policy.