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‘Zero Tolerance’: A Vermont Family Feels The Pain Of Trump Immigration Enforcement

Carl Ronga, his wife Becky and their daughter Rehema. Photo by John Dillon for VPR

Carl Ronga, his wife Becky and their daughter Rehema. Photo by John Dillon for VPR

A longtime Vermont resident is scheduled to be deported Sunday back to his native Kenya. His family says they are the victims of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration issues.

That policy has led to thousands of families being separated while trying to enter the country. But removing parents from their children is not just happening at the southern border.

Carl Ronga, his wife Becky, and their five-year-old Rehema live in Randolph Center.

Rehema plays with a music box in her living room and hangs out with Carl, a stay-at-home dad who’s been her primary caregiver. It’s a fleeting moment for them to share.

He’s scheduled to be deported on Sunday, booked on a one-way flight back to Nairobi. Carl Ronga said he knows his situation is not as dire as that faced by families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But it’s tough on his family, especially Rehema and his two other children from an earlier relationship.

“I’m not saying that going back to Kenya is as horrible as going back to South America, or some other countries,” he said. “But it’s the pain of the children, the trauma. It’s very hard to tell my five-year-old what’s going on. It’s very hard for my 13-year-old to comprehend.”

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