As we honor our mothers across the United States, I want to recognize the hundreds of mothers who won’t be receiving flowers or cards, despite tremendous personal sacrifices to provide the best possible life for their children. I’m speaking of the mothers who are ensnared in our broken immigration system, being held in family detention centers that are nothing less than prisons for themselves and their children.
By Hope Mustakim
On the morning of March 30 in 2011, I woke to find four men hauling my husband away in an unmarked vehicle. That was my introduction to our country’s horrendous immigration detention system: a sprawling, inhumane, for-profit behemoth that locks at least 34,000 men, women, and children up every night.
By Griselda Nevarez
For organizers like Celeste Faison, the fight for civil rights isn't limited to the U.S.-born black community. It also extends to immigrants who experience hardships caused by what she sees as the nation's broken immigration system.
"Our struggles are not necessarily the same in every aspect, but our experiences are similar," said Faison, who is the black organizing coordinator for the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Migrant mothers held at a privately-run detention centre in southern Texas have begun further peaceful protests, reportedly refusing some meals and demanding their immediate release from incarceration.
Advocates and a detained mother speaking to the Guardian from Karnes confirmed the action was taking place, although it is unclear how many detainees are taking part. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have declined to make specific comment on the protest at the centre, which is operated by the private security company Geo Group.
Last week 78 immigrant mothers took part in a hunger strike and work stoppage to call attention to theinhumane treatment that families are receiving in Karnes Immigrant Detention Facility. Today, 10 women are resuming the strike, refusing all services for another week and calling for their release.
The women detained at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas don’t know exactly where they are: they’re isolated, unsure of their legal fate–whether they’ll be allowed to remain in the US on humanitarian reprieve–and walled off from the outside world in a remote patch of Texas, which is known primarily as a place where migrants go to disappear. Amid all the unknowns about this place, the women do know two things: they belong with their children, and they do not belong there.
This week 80 mothers detained with their children in Karnes County, Texas, began a Holy Week hunger and work strike to demand their immediate release. In a letter smuggled out of the facility they write:
“[D]uring this [time], no mother will work in the detention center, nor will we send our children to school, not will we use any services here, until we are heard and approved: we want our FREEDOM.”
Hoy domingo es el Día Internacional de la Mujer y las mujeres en la ciudad de Nueva York y en el resto del país estamos celebrándolo con una petición hacia nuestros respectivos gobernadores para que trabajen a favor de nosotras. ¿Cómo? Le pedimos a nuestro Gobernador Andrew Cuomo que exija a sus homólogos en otros estados que abandonen la demanda legal en contra de los programas de Acción Diferida para Padres (DAPA).