Ana* and her four-year-old daughter Victoria* fled Honduras to seek asylum in the United States, after her husband was murdered for his political beliefs. Immediately upon arrival, ICE locked the two of them away in the notorious Dilley family detention center in Texas, where they’ve spent the past ten months… with little access to protection and negligent medical care.
Every day, the two of them are struggling to survive the terrifying threat of COVID-19, which is ravaging the center they are detained in. To make matters worse, Victoria has asthma and is at high-risk for the virus.
But now, things are reaching a breaking point. In recent weeks, a federal judge ordered that all children held by ICE be released by Friday, July 17 — declaring that detention facilities are “on fire” with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
However, the judge cannot order ICE to release their parents, too — that means ICE could keep parents detained and separated from their children, or keep these families locked up indefinitely.
Amnesty is doing everything in our power to make sure that ICE frees children and their parents together. We can’t let Ana and so many other parents face a brutal, impossible situation — separating from their children and potentially losing them forever or staying locked away in family detention indefinitely.
Ana and Victoria’s story is just one of almost a hundred that shows ICE’s total disregard for the health and wellbeing of children and parents during this pandemic. There are children as young as one ICE may choose to separate from their parents instead of releasing them together.
These children and their families have a chance to go free tomorrow. But we must act now.
When we come together to apply pressure on ICE, we win — just last month, asylum-seekers Paola* and her baby Jose* were released thanks to the relentless advocacy of their lawyers and sustained pressure from activists.
With your support, we can continue to ramp up our intensive media and campaigning efforts demanding that ICE do the right thing and release all families together. We’ve driven tens of thousands of letters and calls to ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence, and with your support, we’ll continue to keep up the pressure.
The photo above is not of the people whose stories are told in this article.
Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom focused on human rights. The organization claims it has more than seven million members and supporters around the world. The stated mission of the organization is to campaign for "a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments." Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer on 28 May 1961, by the lawyers Peter Benenson and Philip James.