Central American Families Need Safety, Not Detention

Child in detention with her Christmas list'

Update (12/12/16): Beatrice* is 6 years old and she knows what she wants for Christmas – to be released from detention.

After fleeing gender-based violence in Honduras, she and her mom have been locked up for more than 15 months.

Tell the Secretary of Homeland Security to release Beatrice, her mom, and other families from a Berks County immigration facility. They need safety, not detention.

*Beatrice is a pseudonym for the child identified in this petition.

Women and children from Central America are locked up in a Berks County immigration detention facility. They've been detained without criminal charges and are being threatened with deportation back to the deadly gang violence they bravely tried to escape.

Carlos (a pseudonym) and his mom have been in detention for a year since they escaped gang death threats in El Salvador. He'd already experienced the disappearance of two of friends who refused to join the gang — he thinks they’re dead.

"There are so many children here," Carlos told the ACLU. "There’s a two-year-old boy who’s been here half his life. A lot of the little kids follow me around and ask me to pick them up. I never do because I’d get in trouble. I thought kids like me who are running for their lives would get help. But we're being treated like criminals."

These families need safety from violence, release from detention, and fair hearings in court — not to be treated like criminals and deported to unsafe conditions.

To The Secretary of Homeland Security:

The Central American women and children being held in Berks County immigration detention center deserve to be safe from violence — not treated like criminals and deported without a fair hearing in court. Release these families from Berks and ensure that they receive fair hearings.