Conversations with an Immigrant Mom

By Julianne Hing Jul 16, 2008

In April I went to the Yuba County Jail to interview Tatyana Mitrohina, a woman slated for deportation to Russia who’s also about to lose her child to the foster care system. Our interviews formed the basis of "When An Immigrant Mom Gets Arrested," a story I co-wrote with swessler, an ARC research associate and fellow Racewire blogger, for the July/August issue of ColorLines. Each time Tatyana and I spoke at the jail, I struggled to juggle multiple streams of thought in my head: the questions I wanted to ask her, her long, thoughtful responses and my observations of our surroundings. After each visit, I’d walk up the stairs from the jail’s underground visitation area to the sidewalk and jot notes in my notebook before driving away. I always felt oddly numb after our visits, even though our conversations delved into the painful details of the trauma she’d experienced in her life. It wasn’t until much later that I could process the experience apart from the reporting job I had gone to do.