Every night before she falls asleep, Marlene de Leon worries whether she'll be jarred awake the next morning by immigration agents banging on the door to deport her mother who for years has lived in Miami without papers.
The fear inspired the talented 13-year-old middle school student to write a song about deportation that has become the anthem of a contingent of U.S.-born children who will travel to Washington, D.C., this week with their undocumented parents to march in front of the White House and demand an end to deportations.
Marlene and her mother Lily de Leon, 48, are among dozens of families planning to board buses in Miami Tuesday for the overnight trip to Washington to take part in the 2 p.m. event Wednesday.
Nora Sandigo, executive director of Miami-based American Fraternity, is the South Florida organizer for the Washington march, which is expected to draw dozens or hundreds of other children and parents from across the country.
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The majority of participants will be like Marlene and her mother -- U.S.-born children accompanied by undocumented foreign parents.
"The idea is to show President Obama that deportations of undocumented people are having a severe impact on their U.S.-born children," Sandigo said. "Children whose parents have no immigration documents lose sleep, are chronically stressed and depressed."
Activists who oppose immigration reform say the parents' decision to remain illegally in the U.S. should not be rewarded by any suspension of deportations because they broke the immigration laws.
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