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In his testimony on the Department of Homeland Security’s reauthorization and President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request, Secretary Kelly discussed the deportations of people seeking asylum from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA, has issued the following statement in response:  

“When Secretary Kelly heartlessly suggests that mothers and children seeking safety in the United States are bringing violent crime into the country, he betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the horrific violence they are fleeing,” said Naureen Shah. “Families are running from the extreme violence and threat of death created by MS-13 and other gangs in the Northern Triangle, not looking to join it. To argue otherwise demonstrates the cruelty and indifference of the budget proposal, which asks Congress to fund walling off our southern border, lock up more asylum seekers, and expand the country’s border patrol staffing. Kelly must put an end to the deportations of people who have not had their full cases heard before an immigration judge. People fleeing violence should not be treated like criminals based on their country of origin.”

Amnesty International USA launched a global campaign today to urge Ivanka Trump to intervene on behalf of the women and children held at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. Amnesty sent a letter to Trump on June 7 urging her to visit Berks. Currently, there are as many as 60 infants, toddlers, children, fathers and mothers jailed at Berks, one of three such family detention centers, which are akin to jails, in the United States. Some have been held for more than 600 days.