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Mothers Released from Family Detention Urge President Obama to NOT APPEAL Judge’s Decision

For immediate release: Agosto 3, 2015

Press Contacts: Esther Portillo, Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families [email protected], 347-585-7462 

Anna Duncan, We Belong Together, [email protected]

For interviews with mothers please contact the individuals above.

Mothers Released from Family Detention Urge President Obama to NOT APPEAL Judge’s Decision

Letter from formerly detained moms to President Obama:

Dear President Obama,

It is an honor for us mothers to write to you with the respect you deserve. Our purpose is to be heard by you once again and that you respond to our pleas. We are mothers that were detained with our children at Karnes Family Detention Center for 11 months. We went through humiliations, discrimination, mistreatment, illnesses, and a lot of pain in light of not having a solution to our pleas. Many of us were released with a $10,000 bond and with an ankle monitor--that is humiliating. We urge you NOT to APPEAL the decision by Judge Dolly M. Gee and that all this nightmare end for so many families. The lives of the children and of our own have been scarred as a result of the frightening memories and horrible situations we lived through. We urge you to listen to our words and that you do not permit for more families to be locked up in detention. It is illegal to lock up children with their mothers. There are many other ways that this situation could be handled without locking up families. We come fleeing what is happening in our countries in Central America, protecting the lives of our children. This nation for us is our refuge and protection. We do not ask more than that and we urge you to end all detention. We must forge in our children healthy minds that are free from violence without having them go through the nightmare of being locked up for months. In detention, many things happen that people outside can’t even imagine because it’s not in the interest of those that enforce detention to have others know what really happens inside detention. In Karnes Family Detention Center there were abortions, children had seizures, children with cancer, children with kidney illnesses, 2-year-old with headaches, mothers going crazy and what they would do was deport them. There were two mothers that cut their veins. We don’t want the children to suffer. We are mothers. We have witnessed all that suffering. If you would like to speak with one of us and with our children to learn more about the situation that we lived through in detention, we will gladly do so.

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Refugee Families Deserve Real Freedom: NO to REFORMS, BONDS, DEGRADING ANKLE MONITORS AND AGGRESSIVE MONITORING BY ICE

Press inquiries can be made to:

Angela Sanbrano (CARECEN- LA),[email protected],  (323) 371-7305

Esther Portillo (Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families- Texas) [email protected],(347) 585-7462

August 2014, exactly a year ago, a nightmare began for thousands of mothers and their children when the Obama administration incarcerated them in family detention centers. These families were deprived of their freedom, some close to a year. Families underwent further trauma from being detained, children lost weight and were denied basic psychological and health services. Despite a judges order to release families, many continue to languish in detention, unknown to them when they will gain their freedom. Under international law, these families should have NEVER been incarcerated in the first place and all of them should be released immediately on their own recognizance.

 

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Letter to the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations Denouncing Human Rights Violations of Central American Refugees

July 8, 2015

United States Senate

Committee on Appropriations

The Capitol, Room S128 Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senators,

We, the undersigned human rights, religious, labor, immigrant rights, solidarity, and community organizations, wish to express our serious concerns about language in the House of Representative’s State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for FY16 that would further endanger Central American refugees and risks violation of international law and standards. As the Senate moves towards approving its FY16 Appropriations bill for State and Foreign Operations, we call on our elected officials to ensure that the bill respects and promotes the rights of people, including vulnerable children and families, fleeing serious harm to seek international protection abroad.

The House of Representative’s State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for FY16 contains language that conditions United States assistance to Central American governments on steps taken to “improve border security” and reduce migration of their citizens to the U.S. (see “SUSPENSION OF AID” Sec. 7045, page 172). These conditions would encourage the implementation of policies that violate the right of people to emigrate, a right enjoyed by all people, and would dangerously undermine the right of persecuted people to seek territorial access to a country of asylum.

 

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Freedom NOT Reform: Refugee Mothers and Children Demand their Freedom this 4th of July

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Esther Portillo (347) 585-7462, [email protected];

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

WHAT: Press conference/rally to demand freedom for refugee mothers and children and LGBTQ detainees in migrant detention.

WHEN: Thursday, July 2nd 2015 at 9 a.m.

WHERE: Los Angeles Federal Building, 300 N. Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA

WHO: Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families and their supporters and allies

Visuals: Testimony from a recently released mom, testimony from a recently released LGBTQ migrant, statements from community leaders, posters, banners

LOS ANGELES CA | As the 4th of July approaches, a day that allegedly represents freedom and independence, the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families demands freedom for all detained families, as well as for all LGBTQ detainees. We cannot celebrate while thousands of mothers, children and LGBTQ refugees languish in immigration detention.

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Human Rights Organizations Call on President Obama to Use his Executive Power to End Family Detention Immediately

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE​​​​

CONTACT: Esther Portillo (347) 585-7462[email protected]; Nancy Zuniga  (310) 433-1997[email protected]

Human Rights organizations from around the country denounce the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recent announcement that the agency will continue to incarcerate women and children from Central America under its controversial family detention program. The coalition of organizations calls on President Obama to use his executive power to bring an end to family detention immediately. 

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National Mother's Day Action Demanding Obama End Family Detention & Free Refugee Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       

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

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

Karnes Refugee moms, scholars and larger community urge President Obama to free mothers and their children from detention and uphold Flores Settlement 

WHAT: Press conference announcing actions: letter delivery & 24 hour solidarity fast

WHEN: Monday, May 11th at 10:00 AM

WHERE: Central American Resource Center (CARECEN); 2845 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Visuals: Testimonies, community leaders fasting, posters, banners

LOS ANGELES, CA | This Mother’s Day, the #KarnesRefugeeMoms and the larger community are sending an important message to President Obama and to Federal Attorneys that are negotiating the outcome of the Flores 1997 case settlement as applied to current family detention: release all mothers and children currently detained and end the illegal practice of detaining families! In Washington DC, family members of detained mothers and children will be joined with allies in delivering a letter from the #KarnesRefugeeMoms and a letter signed by over 500 US scholars to President Obama. The group will also visit Congressman Ruben Hinojosa and urge him to take a stand with the families and inform him about the illegality of family detention in his district, which includes Karnes Detention Center.

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Nationwide Protests Demand the Obama Administration Release Women and Children held in Detention Camps

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2015 

CONTACT: Nancy Zúniga (310) 433-1997, [email protected]; and Esther Portillo, (347) 585-7462, [email protected] 

(Los Angeles, CA) — On March 24, 2015 groups from the immigrant rights and Central American community in Los Angeles, Austin, New York, Washington D.C., and San Antonio will hold actions to call on the Obama administration to release the women and children held at Karnes and Dilley Detention centers in Texas, many of whom have been detained for as long as 9 months. In Los Angeles, groups will hold a rally at the Federal Buildling at 300 N. Los Angeles St., on Tuesday, March 24 at 12:00pm, where they will highlight the plight of at least 20 families that have been held at Karnes Detention Center in prolonged detention. The group plans to portray the plight of the detained families through protest rallies, faith leaders, testimonials, and reading a new statement written directly by the mothers inside detention.

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Southern California Immigration Coalition, Unión del Barrio, and other Pro-Immigration and Pro-Palestinian Community Groups to Protest President Obama in LA

Contact: Ron Gochez (323) 450-6113

July 21, 2014 

Los Angeles, CA | Unión del Barrio, SCIC and other pro-immigrant and pro-Palestinian progressive groups will hold a march and rally against President Obama during his visit to LA Trade Tech.  The alliance of community groups, consisting of teachers, students, labor organizers, and social activists will demand an immediate end to the president’s deportation of the millions of undocumented immigrants, especially the children and parents currently in detention centers across the country from Central America.  Additionally, protesters will demand that the US government demand from Israel an immediate cessation of its genocidal campaign against the people of Palestine, and an immediate and unconditional creation of a free Palestinian State.

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Central Americans and Allies call on President Obama to Rescind his call to Fastrack-Deportation of Minors and to Divert $2 billion away from Militarizing the Border

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE​​​​
CONTACT: Alex Sánchez 213-793-1050[email protected]; Esther Portillo 347-585-7462,[email protected] 
 
Central Americans and Allies call on President Obama to Rescind his call to Fastrack-Deportation of Minors and to Divert $2 billion away from Militarizing the Border 
 
In response to the current humanitarian crisis evidenced by the unprecedented number of Central American child migrants seeking refuge in the United States,Southern California based organizations will protest President Obama's harmful policies towards refugee children on Monday, July 7 at 12:30pm at the Downtown Los Angeles Federal Building. This week the Obama Administration announced it will ask Congress for $2 billion in new funds to further escalate its border-control policies.  The administration’s plan is to fast-track the detention and deportation of these children by jointly demanding “additional authority to exercise discretion,” thereby undoing the Bush-era laws delaying child deportation proceedings.  Meanwhile the U.S. government maintains the majority of these children in deplorable detention conditions at the border. 
 
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