AUSTIN — A letter from inside the Hutto detention center received by advocates over the weekend details what it is like for a mother separated from her children and detained by ICE.
The letter, viewable here, describes the pain of separation and being subjected to dehumanizing treatment. The woman, who signed the letter “Anonimo,” also describes how other mothers are suffering not knowing where their children are or what’s happening to them. “...This is the harshest thing they could do, to take our children from us,” she writes.
On the heels of this letter form inside, faith leaders, community members, and advocates will testify and march on Tuesday to call on the Williamson County Commissioners Court to use their power to immediately end the contract with the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. Testimony will include letters from detained mothers and accounts from community members who are in touch with women inside.
WHAT: Testimony to County Commissioners and March
WHO: Faith leaders, community members, and advocates
WHEN: Tuesday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
WHERE: Williamson County Commissioners Court, 710 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
Drawing on the Biblical story of Jericho, they will march seven times around the courthouse to call for an end to the systems upholding the Hutto Detention Center and the Trump administration’s cruel zero-tolerance policies that criminalize and lock up families seeking safety.
Community members will call for the immediate release of dozens of mothers they are visiting who have been ripped from their children at the border. They will demand their release from T. Don Hutto and safe reunification with their children.
Full translated text of the letter:
I was separated from my children, it was so painful...it was so painful for me, when they took them away from me and took me to the ice box or kennel (border prison). From then on, I didn't know any more about my children, I asked them and they told me they didn't know anything. I asked for a minute to speak with my husband and they didn't let me, all the mothers were crying in anguish, distraught from not knowing anything about our children, this is the harshest thing they could do, to take our children from us. The told us they were going to adopt our children out to other people.
I was in the kennel for 8 days without bathing or brushing my teeth, they treated us so horribly as though we were animals. Sometimes they punished us and didn't give us water or food. We slept on the floor and they gave us aluminum paper to cover us.
My son says they hit him during the 3 days immigration had him and they pulled my little girl's hair just because she didn't wake up.
It was 21 days until I spoke with my children. Until then that I heard the voices of my children. And 8 days later I spoke with my husband and he told me where my children were, in Michigan. They were worried about me because they didn't know anything about what had happened to me. There are women with children 3 months old and the babies cry from hunger and cold, it makes you sad to see these tiny, defenseless babies.. the pregnant women faint, and also the women who cannot stand the pain of not knowing anything about their children, where they are.
They took me, chained at the feet and hands from Laredo TX to T Don Hutto.
This is an account of what I have lived, thank you for your attention.
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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization are things of the past. Follow us @Grassroots_News.
Bethany Carson, email@example.com, 512-499-8111