As originally posted on the #FreedomNOTReform FB page
Rally for Freedom LA”In the light of the 4th of July festivities, a day that allegedly represents “freedom” and “independence”, detained mothers and their children as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) immigrants unite to demand freedom for all detainees, as well as demand an end to family detention. Exactly one year after the beginning of the “Central American refugee crisis,” many refugee mothers and children across the United States are still being unjustly held in family detention centers, and we demand their freedom once and for all.
During the last two weeks, DHS has released new guidelines to “improve” the conditions of detained families and transgender migrants. In one statement, Secretary Jeh C. Johnson acknowledged the inefficiency of long term detention, and the need to discontinue this practice; however, more than 2,500 mothers and their children continue to languish indefinitely in detention camps. While the U.S. government celebrates its independence, they deny freedom of thousands of mothers and children and over 30 thousand other detainees in detention. We want to send a clear message that there is no humane way to detain families: We want#FreedomNOTReform!
This July 2, 2015, family members of detainees, community organizers, and other immigrant and human rights advocates will be delivering this message to the media and general public in front of the Los Angeles Federal Building. This effort, led by the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families, is being supported by other organizations that are working with families directly affected by detention, such as: IDEPSCA, CARECEN, Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement (TQLM), StopLAPDSpying Coalition, ACRAS, May Day Trans Queer Contingent, Homies Unidos, UCLA Labor Center, National Lawyers Guild, and LA-CAN. Family members of mothers who have been detained will also join us.
Mothers and children have been forced to migrate from Latin America–particularly from Central America–to escape femicide and rampant violence due to organized crime and weak governments, a legacy of U.S. intervention and neoliberal economic policies. Thousands of these women and children are seeking refuge in the United States. However, rather than treating them as refugees in need of international protection, the Obama administration has responded with for-profit incarceration, detaining women and children for up to 11 months under the flawed logic that this tactic will deter others from coming to the U.S.
Mothers held in the Karnes Family Detention Center, an immigration prison privately owned and operated by the GEO corporation, have held two hunger strikes targeted at ICE Director, Sarah Saldaña, to demand their release and to draw attention to the deplorable conditions in detention. ICE and GEO responded to demands for freedom by placing so called “leaders” in dark rooms with their children. In a recent attempt to silence refugees, the government deported an Honduran mother who had attempted suicide. She was stripped naked, held in a dark room, and later transported to a hotel before being deported to Honduras with her child.
The US government continues to silence detainees, including transgender women detained often under humiliating, dangerous, and even deadly conditions. Transgender women are often locked up alongside men, sometimes the very men they were trying to escape. Other times, these women are put in solitary confinement—its own form of torture—for months on end, all in the name of “protecting” them. Transgender immigrants also suffer exceptionally high rates of physical abuse and sexual assault.”