On September 7, our friends at Democracy Now! broadcast the following exclusive interview with a Salvadoran mother, who was detained for nine months with her four-year-old daughter at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvaia.
Here is an excerpt of what “María” told Democracy Now! (click here for the full transcript):
MARIA: [translated] I want to tell you that, yes, I did not feel well at all. I was—it was terrible. I could not sleep at all. Every night when you would go to sleep, every five minutes, every 10 minutes, the door would open. Someone would come in and flash the light at you, at your face.
And then my daughter, she would, of course, sleep on the other bed, but because she would get up in the middle of the night—she was afraid, and she would get up in the middle of the night and say, “Mommy, mommy, I’m scared.” And she would slip into bed with me. And they would come, the officers would come, in the middle of the night and shine their light at me. And they would look at me and say, “She’s not supposed to be here. Get her off, and get her into her own bed.” And they would make her go into the bed. And she would be afraid.
And so, because my daughter, maybe she didn’t sleep enough at night—I don’t know—but she was always angry. She was always very aggressive. She was terrible, because she just wasn’t—she wasn’t sleeping. And neither was I. And I felt terrible because of everything.
And there were children who had their ID hanging on their neck, and sometimes they would want—they would take it, and they would strangle themselves with it, because they couldn’t stand being there, so they would try to strangle themselves with the ID.