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Hundreds of holiday cards from young children and teens are being delivered to children in immigration detention in an organized protest of the families' confinement.
According to a coalition of groups opposed to their families’ detention, hundreds of children will spend their holidays in detention after arriving on the U.S. border this year.
The cards, delivered last Friday through Christmas Eve, are being sent as border officials are reporting an increase again in the numbers of families arriving on the border and turning themselves in to border officials. Many are coming from Central America.
One girl said in her letter that her dad was detained and deported and that she misses him “all the time."
“Holidays are supposed to be for having fun with your family,” says the letter from Elena Jimenez, 16, of Homestead, Fla., quoted in a news release. “Everybody should be somewhere nice to celebrate, not in jail. It’s not fair that they make families stay in detention … My wish is for all families to be together and free for Christmas.”
The campaign was organized by We Belong Together, a coalition of women's and Immigrant rights groups.
In 2014, tens of thousands of children and families arrived at the border, many citing gang violence, crime and economic devastation, creating what was called a humanitarian situation by the Obama administration.
A federal judge forced the administration to change how long it detains thousands of mother and children, which has been blamed by some critics for contributing to the latest arrivals.
The letters to children in detention replace a previous campaign of sending letters to Congress. Congress included $750 million in the spending bill it passed just before leaving for the holidays to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and possibly curb the emigration from those countries.