A Scream to the Heavens

Letter to Fighting Words

Children in ICE cages.
Children in ICE cages.

By Elena Herrada

Good afternoon

I don’t normally express raw emotion to strangers like this, but the situation calls for a scream to the heavens.

I cried myself to sleep last night, I am sure along with a 16 year old I have applied to be a vetted sponsor for.

She’s in a detention center somewhere in Texas. Her parents called me from Guatemala and asked if I could sponsor her, as I have for other members of her family before her,

It’s a lot of work to do this. It requires proof of income, identity, addresses, fingerprints, as if one were applying to adopt a minor.I did all that work so she can get out of that hell . I have done it a few times.

Since she has never been here and I have never been there, I could not produce proof that we know each other, so I was denied. They told me another relative could sponsor her, but that endangers all of her relatives in the US because of status issues. They say that it doesn’t matter, but there is no reason to believe them.

This is what breaks my heart:

An agency that has been publicly reported to have sterilized women in their custody without their permission or knowledge can tell me I am not acceptable to sponsor this girl.

An agency that put thousands of people together to languish with COVID can tell me that my home in Detroit is not acceptable.

An ICE Agent raped a 4 year old girl in the cage next to her mother and they can tell me I am not trustworthy to sponsor a child whose parents have requested me to do so.

An agency that has allowed toddlers to die in their cages tells me I am not trustworthy.

I don’t even have words for this. I am doubling over thinking of her.



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