“From Pilgrims seeking freedom to practice their religion, to Jews feeling Nazism, to political prisoners escaping communism, America has been built on the promise that our country offers safe harbor and asylum to those who are persecuted and abused in their home countries. It is a value fundamental and endemic to our American freedom.
Maria, and her three children, ages nine, five, and two, came to the United States in February seeking that unique promise of American liberty. They are my clients.
Maria and her family are fleeing the most gut-wrenching violence and abuse imaginable. Maria is deaf. She has a speech impediment. She does not know sign language, and she cannot read or write. In part because of these disabilities she has been persecuted, assaulted, abused, and abandoned. She came to America because she knew that she would be safe here: safe to raise her children, safe to work hard, safe to build a better life, safe to lawfully pursue the American Dream and live in peace.
Under American law, Maria and her family have done everything right. They presented themselves at a border station with all the correct paperwork and documentation. They made a request under American law for asylum. At no point, and in no way, have Maria or her three small children broken the law.
Maria has a mother and two sisters in Houston, Texas. Maria has a lawyer in Houston who has promised to take her asylum case. Maria has a place to live, and financial support in Houston. Yet, instead of allowing Maria and her family to move to Houston and pursue their asylum claim, agents at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have detained Maria and her children in what amounts to prison. They have offered no reasonable explanation for why a woman and her three children who have never broken the law should be imprisoned.
The conditions at this prison are terrible. The food is barely edible, to the point that Maria’s children are not eating, and the water is so chlorinated that many women can’t drink it. The children aren’t allowed to have toys or to play. Despite all this, in a true testament to the kind of work ethic and grit that shape Maria’s character, she sweeps floors for a dollar an hour. Maria is hard at work trying to secure her freedom.
Maria and her family must pay a hefty bond in order to be released from detainment. If you believe that someone who lawfully comes to America in search of liberty does not deserve to be held without a trial or a hearing or an explanation, then I am asking you to honor your own beliefs and donate to free Maria and her children. Thank you.”