A total of 20 letters were received by Grassroots Leadership organizers on Friday, illuminating the anguish of mothers who remain separated from the children they haven’t seen since asking for asylum at the southern border.
As the letters arrived, so did phone calls and messages from inside from multiple women who fear being transferred. Each one said that officials inside the all-women’s detention center said they were preparing to transfer all women separated from children at the border to a military base, possibly Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, as a first step to deporting them. Attorneys and advocates fear that they will coerce women into signing their own voluntary deportation orders as a way to see their children sooner.
“There’s a word for that,” said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “It’s torture.”
Advocates demand that ICE release mothers from detention, without transferring or further detaining them, and immediately reunite them with their children to live in community with family members in the U.S. Read the redacted letters from inside, with translation, below. Most of the letters are written to Grassroots Leadership organizers, and others are addressed to the children they haven’t seen in weeks.