How To Talk To Children About Deportation: Talking Points

Talking Points for Parents & Children Facing Direct
or Indirect Discrimination and Threats of Deportation

Based on an Article by Cecilia Ayon published in the University of Chicago Journals
(and shaped in part/paraphrased by Dr. Leslie Whited)


1.Discrimination is real and must be addressed in its context.  Respect and Empathy for family, ourselves and each other guides our eco-relations in community.  Generational duty to: Teach Respect! Teach Empathy! Teach Non-Violence! Teach Culture & Family Center!  Family is defined as those who love you and who you love.  This may be defined by bloodlines.  However, it may include advocates, neighbors, friends, extended family and so on.  It can be very wide.  Love is defined by Dr. Susan Forward, "Loving behavior doesn't grind you down, keep you off balance, or create feelings of self-hatred.  Love doesn't  hurt, it feels good.  Loving behavior nourishes your emotional well-being.  When someone is being loving to you, you feel accepted, cared for, valued, respected.  Genuine love creates feelings of warmth, pleasure, safety, stability and inner peace."

2.True, and dramatic, story-telling is often a way to honor the nativity or the way elders have come to America.

3.Conversations with youth are valued and important.  Conversations are rich, multi-generational and meaning-based.  Everything that happens in a day is open to discussion.  Derogatory comments all the way to threats can be discussed and processed in healthy ways within the family.

4.Advocacy is important.  If your child’s friend or family is threatened with deportation, then, they do need your support and advocacy, and maybe the support of your networks.  Be sure to ask your friend what support they do want from you.  For example, when a friend of mine was threatened with deportation a whole church got together to prevent that from happening.  While she didn’t get full citizenship, she was able to stay within the USA under a set of conditions.  What we do in support of our neighbor matters!  Children see what we do, and remember!

5.Encourage daily living skills, practices and wisdom to live well, with great respect for all people, in a diverse society.

6.Conversation Questions - Accompanied by Great Periods of Deep Listening:
How can we be a bridge to greater human interactions and kinder results?


How can we bring greater understanding to the situation?


How can we bring greater justice to bear?


How can a greater peace happen?


What values about being human-kind do I want to model for children?


How can I, or my child, or children, stretch to love more?



Additional Reading Notes:

At the radical root of it, we are all created diverse and good, by a creative God; or if one is humanist, we are all human.  As humankind, we are all created equal.  We are all citizens of this world.  The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights has a version for youth See: (or see below)

Emphasize the ways that children, tweens, and teens are safe, have additional safety nets, and can help friends build bridges and safety nets.

When emotions or experiences become over-whelming in the moment, self-soothing practices,
preferably learned with parents, are a place to turn to; and yes, religious rituals and practices like prayer and worship may be of comfort as well.



Simplified Version
This simplified version of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been created especially for young people.

1. We Are All Born Free & Equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.

2. Don’t Discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.

3. The Right to Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety. 

4. No Slavery. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave. 

5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us. 

6. You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go. I am a person just like you! 

7. We’re All Equal Before the LawThe law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly. 

8. Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly. 

9. No Unfair Detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country. 

10. The Right to Trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do. 

11. We’re Always Innocent Til Proven Guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true. 

12. The Right to Privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a good reason. 

13. Freedom to MoveWe all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish. 

14. The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe. 

15. Right to a Nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.

16. Marriage and Family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated.

17. The Right to Your Own Things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.

18. Freedom of Thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want. 

19. Freedom of Expression. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people. 

20. The Right to Public Assembly. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.

21. The Right to Democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders. 

22. Social Security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and childcare, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old. 

23. Workers’ Rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union. 

24. The Right to Play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax. 

25. Food and Shelter for All. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for. 

26. The Right to Education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get on with others. Our parents can choose what we learn. 

27. CopyrightCopyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission once one’s invention is copyrighted. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that art, science and learning bring.

28. A Fair and Free World. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world. 

29. ResponsibilityWe have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms. 

30. No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights.


To view original article: Talking to Latino Children About Race, Inequality, and Discrimination: Raising Families in an Anti-Immigrant Political Environment by Cecilia Ayon go to: