ICE: Stop the Deportation of the SaintFleur-Charles Family

ICE: Stop the Deportation of the SaintFleur-Charles Family

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Giovanna Tovar started this petition

        Juliana Saint Fleur Charles is a 5 year-old student with sickle cell anemia who attends Boston Public Schools. She and her family may face deportation. Please help us raise awareness of the urgency for legal status for Juliana and her family so that she may continue her life-saving medical treatment in Boston. Here is the family’s story.

                                              Family story

      Juliana's parents Roselaine and Bitovens are both native to the beautiful island of Haiti. They were high-school sweethearts, and have been together for 9 years, and married for 4 of those years. When they first left Haiti, things were not well. Their town experienced continuous violence and instability. Seeking to find a safer place to build their lives, the couple migrated to Chile.   

During their time in Chile, their first child, Juliana, was born. Roselaine worked to care for Juliana and their family, while Bitovens studied to be an industrial engineer. All was well until Juliana was diagnosed with  Sickle Cell Anemia. 

Juliana experienced serious health issues as an infant, including an infection in her kidneys, brought on by sickle cell anemia, which resulted in a hospitalization.  At that time, her family learned there were not many options for them to provide life-saving treatments to their infant daughter. In fact, access to health care for Juliana’s condition was very limited, and costly, as only private practices were available for treatment. 

Concurrently, in 2019 many manifestations and riots began in Chile, causing severe disruptions with their public transit. Unfortunately, this affected Bitoven’s ability to commute to work, and their access to Juliana’s treatments became even more limited.  

Fearing for their daughter, and amid the growing challenges and barriers in Chile, the family decided to migrate to the United States.

Their travels were long and challenging but mama and papa bear were not giving up on saving their little baby cub. They sought to cross the border in Mexico, and traveled from country to country. The trip was arduous between long rides and at times, 5 day walks through the Colombian jungle. 

The family arrived in the U.S but were deported to Haiti soon after. They arrived in Haiti with nothing after being away for more than 4 years. Juliana was very sick and could not access the care she needed for her condition. The family and extended family agreed that the only way to care for Juliana and her medical needs was to try to cross the border again. This time they were lucky enough to get through the Mexican border. Determined by their love for Juliana, on August 18, 2021 they crossed through the Rio Bravo.

Once in the United States, they were able to access care. Boston doctors found Juliana’s medical condition was severe. With the help of a specialist, Juliana is on a regular course of treatment. Doctors here have shared that Juliana will be well, as long as she continues in her treatment, which will be for various years. 

The Family is now expecting their first son and they would love to see their children grow in good health, having a safe place to live, great learning opportunities, and the opportunity to thrive. The family is seeking legal status in order to find work, and maintain Juliana’s healthcare. Juliana loves to pretend she is a doctor, and her parents imagine her becoming a doctor one day, or anything else she may be if the United States grants her and her family legal status. 

"This family will be an exceptional permanent part of our community given the chance. Through their struggles they have survived and persevered. This is an extremely grateful and strong family". 


Her teacher Ms. Lawlor shares, 

“Juliana has become an integral part of our class and school community since she joined the Lee Academy in September. She comes in each day with a huge smile on her face and often says “I love my school, I love my teacher, and I love my friends.”  Her favorite part of the school day is Closing Circle where she always gets up to dance and sing along to the music. Her enthusiasm for song and dance and her expression of pure joy give the other kids confidence to join in. She has a huge heart and always shows compassion and empathy for her peers. From the first day she stepped foot into our classroom she would immediately run over to any child that was crying to hug them and tell them they were going to be alright. All the kids want to play with Juliana and be near Juliana because they know what a good friend she is. When Juliana first arrived in Boston, her academic and language skills were in their beginning stages. In the subsequent 7 months, I have seen enormous growth in these skills. She loves to learn and should be able to carry on with her education in the place where she is loved and safe. Juliana deserves to continue to access her friends and education at the Lee Academy, as well as the vital life-saving treatment she is receiving to treat her sickle cell anemia in Boston.”

 

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