Letter from Immigration Raid Victims

In the early days of 2016, the federal government began immigration raids of families and children, many of whom came to the United States while fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries.  Many of these raids have been occurring in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.  As a result of the raids, seven families who have been detained wrote a collective letter to President Obama's administration, describing what they have experienced.  It is reproduced below.  The original, and the original letter in Spanish, can be found at https://www.raicestexas.org/blogs/50.  

January 27, 2016

Dear President Obama,

We are the mothers who are victims of the raids who were detained at the beginning of 2016. We would like to ask you for our freedom from the unjust detention you have imposed on our families. Why did you choose us to make an example of to frighten other Central American families, with no regard for the suffering it causes us and our children?

Instead of giving us and our children the resources to have a chance at winning our cases, you have used us and made us more vulnerable. We complied with everything that was asked of us, but it was the system that failed us, just because we came to this country to seek protection, because we couldn’t go back to our countries of origin due to being exposed to so much violence and threats against us and our children. That’s why we came to this country to request asylum.

Mr. President, your ICE agents deceived us, telling us we didn’t have a right to legal counsel, and they used lies to get us to go with them to ICE offices. The Board of Immigration Appeals approved our requests for protection, and we are still jailed in this place. We have been detained for almost 30 days, and that implies you are violating our rights.

We demand a response to our cases. It is an injustice that our children are detained and are missing the school year. Being detained has affected us and our children a lot, because of the mistreatment we have received from the authorities, and the frustration it has caused us. We are not criminals who you have to keep locked up. We have not committed any crime and it is unjust that our children, at such an early age, know what it’s like to be in a jail under guard 24 hours, when at this moment they should be in school living life with dignity like every child deserves to.

This is why we ask you to protect the rights we all have.

We hope for a positive response and that we can be returned to our homes in the USA that ICE took us from without caring about the suffering it caused and in violation of our rights.

As a result of being detained, some families have lost their homes.

Please, take us out of this detention center because we and our children are sick with depression and in psychological crisis. We need to be free like human beings to be able to fight our cases outside with dignity.


Ana Silvia Orellana
Dominga Rivas
Elsy Monge Lopez
Gloria Diaz Rivas
Isamar Sanchez Chicas
Marta Maria Hernandez
Susana Arevalo Hernandez