Immigrant mothers whose children were forcefully taken from them at the border are begging for help. The non-profit civil rights organization Grassroots Leadership is now amplifying their calls for mercy by publishing letters that these mothers have written.
When President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced the administration’s zero tolerance policy, separating families who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, a great outcry pushed Trump to later change his tune. He eventually signed an executive order in what appeared to be an attempt to stop the separation policy. Still, 2,053 children had already been forcefully ripped apart from their parents, and only 538 have been reunited so far.
As attorneys and volunteers from Grassroots Leadership try to help these mothers and children, reporters published some of the letters written by these women. Since many involve mothers who are asking for asylum, not all women were identified.
In one of these letters, a mother spoke as the representative of many others, saying, “We beg you to help us, return our children.”
In another letter, a mother who was separated from her son admits it’s hard to deal with the separation.
"There are moments when I can't go on ... If they are going to deport me, let them do it — but with my child," she said.
Another mother who’s seeking asylum said that life back in her country was impossible, “they threatened to kill me and my children,” she said. But instead of finding help in the U.S., she continued, “they killed us alive” by taking their children.
One of the mothers explained she hasn’t been able to bathe or brush her teeth in eight days and that it’s been 21 days since she’s seen her children.
Calling her detention facility “la perrera,” or a dog pound, the woman said she doesn’t know where her children are.
"They treated us so horribly, as though we were animals," she wrote.
One mother described seeing her children being taken as a painful, traumatizing experience.
“He screamed, begging them to please not separate us. He hugged me, crying. He asked me not to let them separate him from me,” she wrote, adding her child tried kissing her between the bars but that an official made him sit back down.
In one case, a mother pleaded with an officer to let her see her 15-year-old.
“I asked about my son and they wouldn’t respond. I insisted on knowing and they told me, ‘Ma’am, your son is not here, he is far away and you’re being deported to your country,’” she said.
As she became desperate, she started crying. But the more she pleaded, the more threatening they sounded.
“The official told me, ‘Don’t make me use a Taser gun on you,’” she wrote.
These women, leaving violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, all thought that coming to America meant finding sympathetic people who would understand they were trying to give their families a second chance. What they found instead was nothing but more hardship.
It’s disgraceful that Trump and Sessions, two men who claim to be pro-family, would have allowed this to happen under their watch. And what’s worse, they used these mothers’ suffering to force Congress to back Trump's border wall plan.
Banner / Thumbnail : Mike Blake / Reuters