Three years after arriving in the U.S. to seek safety, fourteen-year old Astrid and her father Arturo were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the middle of the night and sent to Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania.
Astrid and her father are Indigenous K’iche from Guatemala, where discrimination and violence against this community is institutionalized and widespread. They were initially detained by CBP when they arrived at the border in 2015, but were released the following day. Since then, the family has lived an ordinary life in their community. They are pursuing a case of asylum to stay in the United States.
“This family was ripped out of their home by armed ICE agents in the middle of the night, without warning or warrant,” said Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA. “It defies logic to put a young girl and her father behind bars for trying to rebuild their lives. People fleeing harm should be treated with compassion. ICE must immediately release Astrid and her father while they are pursuing their asylum claim.”
Astrid wants to go back to Easton Area Middle School in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she is now in the eighth grade. She had been planning her quinceañera before she was taken by ICE and brought to Berks. Her birthday wish is for her and her father to be freed from detention before she turns a year older on March 15.
In addition to calling on ICE to release Astrid and Arturo, Amnesty International has asked its seven million members, supporters and activists worldwide to take action on their behalf. The call to action can be found here: https://act.amnestyusa.org/page/21189/action/1