Claudia and her son have been jailed at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley for more than 10 months now, seeking asylum after fleeing their home country of El Salvador. She said she brought her son to the U.S. in order to keep him safe, but they’ve instead been detained indefinitely as COVID-19 has hit “many of the employees” at the family jail and one mother who just arrived, she said.
”If I were to get sick, who would take care of my son?” she asked. “Nobody. I feel like they should understand that it is a long time, that children don’t deserve to be going through this. They don’t deserve to be suffering and to be thinking that they could be separated from their mothers. They are used to being with us.” The nearly year-long detention has had a negative effect on her son, she said.
“He tells me he feels sad because he does not have any friends here and that he misses his friends who already left,” Claudia continued. “He does not want to be here any longer. When someone speaks to him now, he just stands idle. He no longer answers like before, when he would talk to anyone when asked something. Now, he doesn’t. He just stays quiet and puts his head down.”
The Trump administration knows that kids are being traumatized, and will be further traumatized if they’re separated from their parents, because their own experts have said it. They still want to tear Claudia’s son, and over 120 other detained kids, from their parents. What makes this all the more fucked is that Prism’s Tina Vasquez reports that a noted attorney who was supposed to advocate for these kids has actually advocated for binary choice, something that also shocked many immigrant rights advocates.
“After immigration attorneys went public with allegations that the lead counsel tasked with defending detained children has spent years advocating for a protocol that would trigger family separation, the attorneys are now requesting that a court allow them to join the lawsuit on behalf of vulnerable children who are detained alongside their parents,” Vasquez wrote this week. “Immigration attorneys with Aldea – The People’s Justice Center and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) filed a motion to intervene Monday night on behalf of three asylum-seeking children detained across the nation’s three family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.”
I’ll repeat again that none of this has to be happening, because ICE can safely and quickly release children and their parents together, right now, to pursue their cases and shelter safely in a home, not a jail. But ICE refuses to.
”I would not run the risk of not attending my court hearings, knowing that there’s a possibility I can give my son a better legal status, to be able to stay here legally,” Claudia said to CBS News. “I would not lose that opportunity, I would not flee or hide. That would not be logical. If we have endured so much time here, it is because we want to do things legally, it is because we want to leave with the government’s authorization. We don’t want to be running from immigration officials here. If I leave here, I will be responsible for attending the court dates they give me.”
“It is time for them to let us leave,” she said in another part of the interview, “because we did not come to hurt anyone, but rather to fight and push forward for our children.”
Ã°ÂÂÂ¨Emergency help needed Ã°ÂÂÂ¨
ICE has prolonged these families’ suffering until July 27th. We demand family unity and the IMMEDIATE release of all families in detention #SafeAndTogether.
Help us call Congress today! Sign up for a phonebanking shift Ã°ÂÂÂÃ°ÂÂÂ¾Ã¢ÂÂÃ¯Â¸Â https://t.co/hNXAkMGvYX
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) July 23, 2020