Whole Families Are Being Jailed. The US Government Is Behind It.

Thank you Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.

The current unrest in the world today is terrifying. For this reason, the day I gave birth to my son, I looked down at his perfect little teeny tiny body and into his sweet eyes and promised him I would keep him safe in this crazy world. At all costs. Forever.

With all of my heart and soul and abilities as that child’s mother, I will give him the best life I can, and do anything to keep him safe and protect him. That's what good parents do; sacrifice everything for the safety and well-being of their child. You can’t blame a parent ever for doing that. It’s inherent, almost animal instinct-ish, to protect your young. 

But what happens when p
arents are facing an impossible choice: stay and risk violence or flee to the U.S. and risk ending up behind bars with their children. Sadly, that choice was not only real but, now, the reality for at least 60 parents and kids currently detained in the US, many of them are from Central America, where Amnesty International has documented horrific violence.

FACT: There’s only one place in the U.S. that you can hold a child who’s never committed a violent action or crime for nearly 700 days and that place is Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. As many as 60 fathers, mothers, and children are currently being held in Berks. Their only so-called crime is seeking safety for their families as they flee violence or persecution. 

Whether for two weeks or two years, no family should be jailed for seeking safety. They are not criminal! These families have been forced to flee their homes because their lives are under threat and their human rights are being violated. Haven't they been through enough? 

All families should be able to live freely in a safe community and make happy memories, enjoying life's simplest things, like Hikes, bikes, sandy shores, and carousels.  I feel so blessed. Things so basic to Americans, are anything but for many of our neighbors. I can't help but feel terrible. This could be my family, especially in this crazy world. All we as parents want is to keep our kids safe. These parents aren't criminals, they are, Heros! They saved their children, they deserve to live free and make new memories to replace the horrible memories of violence. It's what I would want.

The children are learning to walk, talk and navigate the world in confinement. How horrible! It's outrageous. Children should be playing at the park, going to school, learning about life, going for stroller rides, breathing fresh air...

Again, I feel so blessed for these things that are so basic, but anything but basic to many, many families.

Amnesty International USA is fighting to ensure that people with asylum claims are given a fair hearing and humane treatment. It’s time for the U.S. government to end the cruel practice of family detention at centers like Berks, once and for all. They must immediately release detained families!

Below is a short video about Berks and what's really going on.


To learn more about Berks and what you can do to help end the innocent detention of families, please visit the Amnesty International Website.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com