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Family of detained women, children deliver letter to Obama urging him to free families from detention


Friday, May 8 2015



Esther Portillo, [email protected], (347) 585-7462  (DC)

Nancy Zuniga, [email protected], (310) 433-1997 (Los Angeles)


Family members of detained women and children will deliver letter to President Obama urging him to free families from detention and to uphold the Flores Settlement

WHAT: Press conference/letter delivery to White House

WHEN: Monday, May 11th at 10:00 AM

WHERE: Outside the White House

Visuals: Testimonies,  posters, banners

Washington, DC | This Mother’s Day, #KarnesRefugeeMoms, their family members, and immigrant rights advocates are calling on President Obama to release all families in detention and to end the punitive practice immediately. A letter written by mothers that led a hunger strike in April at the Karnes Family Detention Center is addressed to President Obama and states, “We ask that you free us and grant us refuge. Please give us a chance to demonstrate to you that we are honest, responsible, and hardworking mothers. We want our children in the future to be men and women who benefit society”. The letter will be delivered to President Obama by family members of currently detained mothers and children.

In addition to the mothers letter, a second letter signed by over 500 U.S. scholars, urging the release of the mothers and their children will also be delivered. The group will also visit Congressman Ruben Hinojosa and urge him to stand for the rights of all women and children and inform him of the illegality of family detention in his district, which includes the Karnes Family Detention Center located in Texas.

The families of the detained mothers and children will be accompanied by leaders of the Central American community, the Human Rights Alliance for Refugee Children and Families from Texas, We Belong Together  and other groups.

Most recently, a federal court is reviewing the legality of the detention of migrant children in unlicensed secure facilities, such as those found in Texas and operated by the GEO corporation and the Corrections Corporation of America. A tentative ruling has found that these detention facilities violate the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which requires that minors be held in the least restrictive setting possible and favors  their release from immigration custody. Starting today, federal attorneys and lawyers for the detained families will enter a 30-day negotiating period in which, if they do not reach an agreement, the judge will issue a final ruling. Advocates and community leaders strongly urge for the non-negotiable release of all families, including those with prior deportation orders. Family reunification and the emotional and physical being of children are at stake. A simultaneous press event is being held in Los Angeles by advocates from CARECEN LA, NALACC, IDEPSCA, Homies Unidos, and The Human Rights Alliance for Refugee Children and Families.