UPDATE: Felipe and his parents are together and free from detention! More than eight months after they were separated, the family is finally reunited. Thank you to everyone who supported them and made this possible.
It has been six months since U.S. immigration officials callously separated Felipe from his mother and father. Felipe turned 11 years old in a government shelter for unaccompanied migrant children, thousands of miles away from his parents, who the U.S. government had sent to a U.S. Marshals prison in Texas. Felipe was not able to speak with his parents on his birthday, and the following day he told his mother, Victoria, by phone, “If there’s no cake, there’s no birthday.” Victoria told her son that they would celebrate when they saw each other next. That day has still not come.
Felipe and his parents were all detained separately. To date, the Biden administration has provided NO evidence to justify tearing this family apart.
In September, NIJC filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General asking for an investigation into the separation of Felipe from his parents. Months later, the family continues to suffer irreparable pain and trauma from the ongoing separation.
Four years after Trump separated thousands of families as a matter of policy, it is unconscionable that the Biden administration continues to tear families apart.
Felipe continues to lose days, weeks, and months away from the people who love him the most. Every passing day continues the nightmare Felipe and his parents have lived for half a year.
Sign the petition telling Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to Reunite Felipe and his parents NOW!
Here is a letter Felipe wrote asking to be reunited with his parents:
“Hello, my name is Felipe and I am 11 years old. I have been sick ever since I arrived in immigration [custody]. My lawyer helped me calculate the days I have spent here without my parents. Days = 173 → 5 months and 20 days 4752 hours 299,120 minutes 14,947,200 seconds 24 weeks, 5 days 47.4% of 2022. I want my parents to leave detention and be with me, I feel sad without them … It’s been really difficult. Please let my parents leave immigration; when I see them again the first thing I’m going to do is hug them. I’m also going to cry out of happiness. Thank you for reading this note. Felipe”
Dear Secretary Mayorkas,
Two years ago, Physicians for Human Rights released a report that classifies family separation as “torture.” Upon taking office, President Biden condemned the human tragedy of intentional family separation under the prior administration and committed to protect family unity. Nevertheless, your department separated Felipe from his parents without justification and has kept them apart for months with no end in sight. This 11-year-old child deserves to be with his parents, free from detention, and with the support they need to recover from the trauma of this forcible separation.
Your department has inflicted irreparable harm on Felipe and his parents by separating and jailing them. It is past time for you to end family separation, rather than resurrect this indefensible practice that is increasing under your watch.
Felipe and his father were recently released and reunited, but his mother is still detained. Felipe's family longs to be all together once again. Release Felipe's mother so she can reunite with her young son and husband.
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