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Cartas de Melissa, Carmen, y Jackeline, encarceladas en Karnes City

Melissa, Carmen, and Jackeline are three sisters who, with their mother, fled El Salvador seeking refuge. Right before they left, the three girls had watched as a gang member came into their tiny home and held a gun to their mother’s head, threatening to rape and kill all four of them. They’ve been locked up in Karnes City since August.

When I visited them on Friday, October 31, the girls were particularly sad, despite the little kids bouncing around in pointy princess or witch hats, and despite the special treats — dulces — distributed in honor of Halloween.

Melissa silently handed me a piece of paper. It was a letter from a close friend; their relationship had been forged in the Karnes City Detention Center.


The girl had been deported the night before to El Salvador, along with about 90 other people. Melissa’s mother explained that 34 families had been deported the night before. (Other people reported that it had been 38 families.)

They also told me about women and children screaming and crying. Llorando, llorando. And that some of the women refused to leave. ICE took them by force.

Jackie celebrated her eleventh birthday on 16 de septiembre. I teased her that she might be Mexican, not Salvadoran.

Melisa, Carmen, and Jackeline ask for your help, and so they’ve given me permission to share these letters with you.


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