Statement by 20 families held at the Karnes family prison in Texas

Receive from us a blessed greeting, we are mothers with our children detained at Karnes Detention Center in the state of Texas, we are families that were detained 8 months ago and (ICE) does not want to let us out because we have a prior deportation. There are women here that have lived in the United States for years, returned to their countries and have come back again, they have been given bonds and have been released. When we tell ICE they say it’s because we have a prior deportation, we are not criminal moms, and our children are not criminals, our names are clean, we are mothers that come fleeing the violence in our countries. We are women that have been raped, beaten, and tortured in our countries and we have not found a solution in our native countries. We have come searching for refuge for our children and for ourselves, because we no longer want to be victims of violence nor do we want our children to be.

We ask ICE to let us go with a bond, they say NO, that we don’t have the right to a bond.

We tell them to let us go on our own recognizance and they say NO

We have told them to put an ankle monitor on us and to let us go but they refuse.

At the beginning ICE would tell us that if the immigration judges placed a bond on the children they would let us mothers go, but now that the immigration judges are giving our children bonds, they have changed their point of view.

We see our children suffer, they don’t eat, because the food they give us here is not prepared well, not even those that work here will eat it. Children are skinny and when they (GEO) weighs them, they say that they haven’t lost weight, they say they are fine. There are many sick and pale children, and the water they give us to drink gives us diarrhea, when the children drink it, they’re bellies blow up and it hurts, the milk they give them has no vitamins, it’s cheap and many children get diarrhea, and some even vomit. When children get sick, they tell us to give them water, and if our children seem to have something contagious, they lock us up for up to one month. There are detention officers that when we ask for water, they mock us and speak amongst themselves in English. We feel discriminated in this place, we want to get out of here, we ask for your help. Here they restrict our visits, and if they see that someone comes to visit us and consider them suspicious, they call us over to a room and they ask us if we know those people and those people know us. We, the mothers, have our emotions out of control, it’s difficult to sleep thinking about what will happen to us, they don’t give us a solution to our problems, they don’t care if they deport us to our countries and they kill us over there. Because there have been many cases of women that once they are deported, the moment they arrive, they kill their children and these women continue to be victims of violence. We don’t want our children to end up dead or become involved in crime, we want them to grow up to be good men and women, so that we create a society free of violence. But for that we need to be released from here, to provide for our children better nutrition and that they may feel free. We don’t ask to be provided for, all we ask for is our freedom. That we be given an opportunity, so that they see that we are responsible mothers, hard-working and honest. Please help us, we don’t want to return to that life of violence in our countries, we want to live in peace with our children. We seek refuge in this country because we believe that this country has laws that are upheld and that violence doesn’t exist in the same way it does in our countries.

We plead for your support. This situation is too cruel, more for our children, our children that are very young, that need your help. We don’t know who else to outreach to, help us.

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