Criminalizing Immigrant Mami’Hood : Cirila Baltazar Cruz Sues

Cirila Baltazar Cruz may have returned to Mexico with her beloved daughter Ruby, but that does not mean that the state of Mississippi should not be held responsible for the ordeal that the Oaxacan mother and her child went through because of hate filled policy.

VivirLatino first wrote about Cirila over a year ago, when there was still hope of comprehensive immigration reform being passed this year and yet the narrative was framed in term of who deserved that reform? Certainly not women like Cirila Baltazar Cruz, an Indigenous woman from Oaxaca, a single mami, who dared to work and live in the United States not speaking English or Spanish. A fellow Latina, identified as Puerto Rican in original reports, took away Cirila’s newborn daughter, Ruby, after deciding that speaking Chatino, an Indigenous language, made her an unfit mother. Not only was Ruby taken away and placed with a prominent white family and fast-tracked for adoption, Cirila was criminalized in a way the happens all too often to immigrant mujeres and mamis. She was accused of being a sex worker.

It took well over a year for Cirila Baltazar Cruz to be reunited with her daughter. Well over a year of mami’hood and missed moments that can never be regained. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi, accusing the department of human services of conspiring to take little Ruby away and forcing Cirila to stay quiet.

“Mississippi officials and hospital workers conspired to steal Cirila Baltazar Cruz’s baby by inventing false charges against her – allegations she couldn’t refute because she doesn’t speak the right language – and then told her she couldn’t talk about it,” said SPLC Legal Director Mary Bauer. “This was an outrageous violation of her most fundamental rights, and we’re deeply concerned that other mothers in Mississippi might be subjected to the same treatment.”

I wish Cirila, her hija and her attorneys all the luck in the world.
Unfortunately, what happened to Cirila Baltazar Cruz and Ruby is not that uncommon. There is a long history of the state taking away children of color away from their mothers. In the absence of compassion and humanity, those who deem themselves citizens have also deputized themselves and taken away the children of immigrants, using the fear of the monster that is the current immigration system in the U.S. against families.

Now with the “anchor baby” noise level rising, immigrant mothers, specifically Latina immigrant mothers are having their bodies separated from their humanity, are reduced to the language of war machinery with their offspring as weapons.

As a mujer, as a mami, I know I will fight to the death for my children, for my right to have them, and raise them with languages that we choose. As a Latina mujer and mami, I also will fight to the death for all mamis and their children because I know there are more Cirila Baltazar Cruz’es out there and more Ruby’s.

Image Via / CIEPAC

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53 comments on “Criminalizing Immigrant Mami’Hood : Cirila Baltazar Cruz Sues
  1. Why can’t both stories be sad? There are a lot of differences – the mother in your story didn’t have the language barrier issue Cirila had, for one. And even though she is still missing her little 3 year old, as well as an 8 year old, Cirila had a baby taken from her right after the baby was born and missed the whole first year of her life.

    Also in the story you mentioned there was a father, Cirila was said to be a single mom. My mom is a teacher, and there have been enough cases where a parent has abducted a kid they didn’t have custody of (where both parents were citizens) that my mom has to know all the details of every kid’s cutody situation and a kid can’t just be pulled out of school anymore by the non-custodial parent. Custody is tricky, made trickier by international rules, I’m sure someone who is actually a mom that has dealt with that situation could say more, but it seems to me that you can add to the story you linked relationship and custody issues, which isn’t the case with Cirila.

  2. Pingback: Police in LA Kill Guatemalan Day Laborer, Community Demands Answers | VivirLatino

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