A Monday press statement from Amnesty International USA said that an immigration judge freed a three-year-old boy from Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania after being detained with his mother for more than 16 months.
The young boy, whom Amnesty identified as Josué, had been detained in Berks with his 28-year-old mother Teresa. According to the Amnesty release, Teresa “fled kidnapping threats and physical and sexual assault in Honduras before arriving in the U.S. seeking asylum,” while Josué “has spent over half his life in detention, learning to walk and talk in confinement.”
“Today’s decision is welcome but temporary relief for Josué and his mother. We will continue to fight to ensure that people with asylum claims are given a fair hearing and humane treatment,” Amnesty International USA’s deputy executive director Eric Ferrero said in a statement. “The families held at Berks fled horrific violence in their home countries, only to be put behind bars in the United States. This senseless imprisonment goes against our country’s shared values of equality and dignity. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should release the remaining families and the Department of Homeland Security must shut down family detention centers like Berks once and for all.”
The Amnesty release also said that “there are dozens of children and parents jailed at Berks” and explained that at least three others families are being held there for more than 600 days.