Children of deported parents want National City to be 'welcoming city'

Posted at 10:25 AM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 13:25:28-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) - Four local children whose undocumented parents were recently deported asked National City's City Council to pass a resolution that would declare the city a "welcoming city."

The Duarte children, who are all U.S. citizens and students, saw immigration agents arrest their mother and father at the family's National City home last month. The parents are undocumented immigrants with no criminal record, and they have lived in the U.S. for 21 years.

The loss of their parents has left the Duarte children to fend for themselves.

Before Tuesday night's city council meeting, hundreds of people rallied in support of the Duartes.

Francisco Duarte, 19, is a college student and the oldest of the siblings. He said, "The first couple days were hard, but as soon as we got the community helping out and all our family coming in, things are looking good for us, and we are working as hard as we can to bring things back to normal."

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National City resident Diamond Brandon said, "I don't want people to think this is just a Latino issue. It's a community issue. It's a human issue."

North Park resident Dorothy Gesick added, "It's a show of solidarity, a show of support, and I think that is the best way we can show we care."

Even with their parents away from them, the Duarte kids are thinking of others. The children asked councilmembers to turn National City into a welcoming city.

"Even though it might not help us personally, it might help anybody else, another family," Aracely Duarte told the city council.

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"I don't want this to happen to one more family here," said Francisco.

The council did not make a decision Tuesday but will revisit the issue at an upcoming meeting.

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