The following media release was shared on Monday afternoon by Al Otro Lado:
CALEXICO, CA – After presenting themselves for asylum over a week ago, only five families have been reunified. SEVENTEEN PARENTS ARE STILL DETAINED. When Al Otro Lado went to see four of the separated mothers this weekend, all were sobbing from the horrible treatment they received from ICE and CBP. All were kept in the “hieleras” for almost a week. One mother was accused of lying, and told she should go back to her country. Another was placed in solitary, and told she would be put in ‘the hole’ if she kept crying. Both have been separated from their children for about a year.
One of the mothers who presented herself for asylum with the group is a K’eqchi speaker. Last year, this mother had her child taken away and was deported without ever getting access to an interpreter. Now, ICE and CBP have again failed to provide her with an interpreter. When she struggled to explain herself in Spanish, the officers mocked her and accused her of lying.
These mothers are part of the 29 parents and their families who were escorted to the Mexicali point of entry on March 2 by religious leaders and supporters from Al Otro Lado, Families Belong Together and Together Rising. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents initially claimed they were at capacity and could not process the parents, despite the fact that these parents have a legal right to present themselves for asylum at the port of entry. While the parents waited ten hours, lawyers from Al Otro Lado negotiated with CBP with the support of advocacy from Families Belong Together.