I need my mom, my family and my home

January 8, 2018

Longtime Boston activist and single mother Siham Byah was detained in November--and then suddenly and secretly deported to Morocco shortly after Christmas without even a chance to hug her children goodbye. After Siham's detention, her 8-year-old son Naseem Byah was taken away from Siham's partner Aziz by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and placed in the custody of a foster parent, in defiance of Siham's explicit wishes for what should happen to Naseem. DCF has barred Aziz from visiting Naseem--and, in the week after her deportation, prevented Siham from speaking to her own son.

In December, Naseem wrote this letter to be read out at a public meeting organized to demand freedom for Siham Byah. Also included in this special SocialistWorker.org feature on Siham's case is our report on her deportation after she stood up for justice and excerpts from Siham's letters describing the inhumane treatment she endured while in detention.

HELLO, MY name is Naseem Johnson Byah, and I am 8 years old. I am in third grade and I go to school in Nahant. My favorite colors are orange, yellow, and gold. I love playing video games, and three of my favorites are Minecraft, Roblox, and Monster Legends. I like to read a lot and I am very advanced for my grade level. I was one year old when I was taught to read by my mom, and we've spent hours reading together ever since.

On November 7, I walked to school like I usually do. After school, I walked home to find out that my mom was gone. After that, DCF came to my house with a police officer. They told me that I couldn't stay with Aziz and that I had to go somewhere else. I felt panicked and sad and scared when I heard that I couldn't stay.

I didn't get to talk to my mom for 11 days and I didn't know the truth until my friends were talking about it at school. Even though my foster parent is very nice, I will always still need my mom, my family, and my home.

I miss and love mom to pieces and need her in my life to be happy. My mom is not a criminal and please don't send her back to Morocco. My mom is a good person and loves to help others. Please do not punish her for that. Me and my mom do lots of things together and have tons of memories. Without these memories, I am nothing. I love her and miss her so much. Thank you for your time.

Naseem Byah's letter about his mother

Signed,
Naseem J

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