News & Politics

Detained Migrant Parents Say Children 'Don't Recognize Our Voices' in Heartbreaking Open Letter

"We came to this country to save our lives and the lives of our children. We were not prepared for the nightmare that we faced here.”

“To the people of the United States, please help us,” the handwritten letter states. “We are desperate parents." From the Port Isabel Service Detention Center in Texas, more than 50 migrant parents separated from their children are pleading to be reunited, writing that "the United States government kidnapped our children with tricks and didn't give us the opportunity to say goodbye.”

Under Judge Dana Sabraw’s order, the Trump administration must reunite thousands of kids with their parents by July 26, but the first deadline—the reunification of kids under age five by July 10—was marked by significant delays by the government. Sabraw has increased his pressure on officials, but it doesn’t lessen the agony of separation and detention, with the parents writing in their letter that “each day is more painful that the last.”

”It's been more than a month and we haven't been told much about our children,” they write. “They are living in places with strangers. We've been told that some children are living with new families. Each day is more painful that the last.”

The parents say that while some have been able to speak to their children, “they don't recognize our voices and they feel abandoned and unloved. This makes us feel like we are dead.” During the time that one six year old was torn from his dad, he told him, “You separated from me. You don’t love me anymore?” And yet, the parents continue in their open letter, "with all this trauma; the nightmares, anxiety and pain that this government has caused us and our children, we still have to fight for our asylum cases.”

Earlier this month, another group of moms, detained at T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Texas, wrote about longing to finally be reunified. “When we’re together again, I will spoil you like always,” Claudia wrote in her note to her 7-year-old son. “I will cook your meals and we will go on walks and I’ll lie next to you until you fall asleep. I love you, my prince. I hope to God and the Virgin Mary, my child, that we will soon be together and we’ll never be separated again. I love you baby, sending you kisses.”

“We are not criminals,” the parents from Port Isabel write, “but we need your help. We came to this country to save our lives and the lives of our children. We were not prepared for the nightmare that we faced here.

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