What I heard from the women being held at the federal detention facility today was saddening and disturbing. They cried so much.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) June 9, 2018
Every asylum-seeker should be immediately released, reunited with their children and connected to legal services. Anything less is cruel and barbaric. pic.twitter.com/29dZrCX3Ug
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) shared the “heartbreaking” details of when she met with detained migrant women being held in a federal detention center near Seattle, Washington.
While visiting the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Jayapal spoke with 174 migrant women. Among them many were mothers, who could not stop crying for their children.
“The mothers could not stop crying when they spoke about their children,” Jayapal said in a statement after the visit. “Young girls and boys were taken from them with no chance to say goodbye and no plan for reunification.”
In fact, according to Jayapal, almost one-third of the female detainees were mothers who had been cruelly separated from their children, in some cases as young as one-year-old. The women had neither spoken to their children nor did they have any idea where their children were housed, the congresswoman stated.
Jayapal, who spent over 3 hours talking to the women of the over 200 detainees at the center, appealed the government to “quickly process” the migrants’ asylum claims. She said most of these women, who seek refuge in the United States, come from 16 countries, including Cuba, El Salvador and Guatemala.
“I call on the Trump administration to release all of these individuals immediately, to give them access to attorneys to quickly process their asylum claims, and for them to be immediately reunited with their children. It is outrageous that Department of Homeland Security is violating human rights and our international legal obligations under human rights law to swiftly and humanely process asylum seekers. I will also continue to push to defund ICE, to completely reform the immigration detention system and end mass prosecutions by the Department of Justice, and defund any Department of Homeland Security programs that break up families,” she said in released statement from her team.
The congresswoman, along with a small group of protestors, held a rally outside the SeaTac detention facility in order to get swift justice for these women torn away from their families.
The separation of families at the U.S. border comes after the decision by the Trump administration that resulted in massive rebuke from the nation.
In order to discourage border crossings, the Trump administration announced a draconian measure to prosecute members of immigrant families who enter the United States illegally — even if that means separating children from their parents.
"I have put in place a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border... If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child may be separated from you as required by law," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
"If you don't like that, then don't smuggle your children over the border," Sessions heartlessly added.
Recently, a Honduran man was gripped by a mental breakdown and ended up taking his own life in the padded cell in Texas where he was detained by Border Patrol after he was separated from his family.
The over 200 migrants, including the women Jayapal met with, at the SeaTac detention center are some of the 1,600 immigrants the U.S. authorities decided to transfer to federal prisons, despite outcries from immigration advocates. The transfer would result in the first large-scale use of federal prisons to hold immigrant detainees.
To make matters worse for the already embattled immigrants, Sessions recently announced a change in asylum law, according to which individuals seeking shelter from domestic abuse and gang violence will not be granted asylum in America.
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