Call on US authorities to release #TheBerksKids and their mothers

  • by: Amnesty International Canada
  • target:  Jennifer Ritchey, Acting Field Officer for the Philadelphia Field Office, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement

Josue (age 3), Antonio (age 7), Carlos (age 4), Michael (age 16) and their mothers Marlene, Lorena, Teresa and Maribel (all pseudonyms to help protect their identities) are seeking asylum in the U.S. to escape horrific violence and abuse in their home countries. They have been held in detention for over 600 days and are currently in Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. 

Three-year-old Josué has spent over half his life in detention. He learned to walk and talk in confinement. Four-year-old Carlos asks his mother daily, "Why can't we get out of here?" 

Each family fled traumatic and life-threatening events. Antonio, Carlos and Josué, and their mothers fled kidnapping threats and severe physical and sexual violence. Michael was targeted for gang recruitment and threatened with death if he refused to join. After his friends were killed for refusing to join gangs, Michael and his mother escaped to the U.S. to seek asylum. 

Their future remains uncertain. The 600 days they've spent languishing in detention is taking a serious toll on their physical and mental health.

US officials continue to refuse the release of the four children and their mothers, even though the children have Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and pending applications for legal permanent residency.

This continued detention cannot be justified.

Join our call to the US authorities to immediately release #TheBerksKids and their mothers now.

Update #12 months ago
3 year old Josué (not his real name) and his mother Teresa were freed from Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania yesterday after being granted release by an immigration judge. They had been imprisoned at Berks for over 16 months. We will continue to fight to ensure that people with asylum claims are given a fair hearing and humane treatment. Please continue to share this petition urging authorities to release of all Berks children detained.
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