To: Sarah Saldaña, Esq., Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Tell ICE: Release Melida and her 4-year-old daughter from more than 8 months of detention

Victory! The creator of this petition declared the campaign a success. You can still sign the petition to show support.

We support the release of Melida and her 4-year-old daughter Estrella from family detention in Karnes City, Texas. Melida has a 10-year-old U.S. citizen daughter, a sister with a green card, and other U.S. citizen family and friends all waiting for her in New York and willing to care for her while her case proceeds. She has already endured more than 8 months of detention, suffering constantly while her daughter has been chronically ill and required hospitalization. She's terrified of returning to Guatemala, where the family of the gang member who was convicted of murdering her sister-in-law wants retribution. ICE has the authority to release her but, so far, has denied every request. If Prosecutorial Discretion means anything, it means that Melida and Estrella should be released.

Why is this important?

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Melida and her daughter Estrella – who celebrated her 4th birthday in detention -- are asylum seekers from Guatemala who have now been incarcerated for more than 8 months.

They are being held at the family detention facility in Karnes City, Texas, where 78 mothers recently initiated a hunger strike to protest prolonged detention and deplorable conditions.

Melida also has a 10-year-old U.S. citizen daughter, a sister with a green card, and other family members all living in New York with whom she desperately wants to reunite, but ICE has refused to exercise its Prosecutorial Discretion to release her.

Melida’s sister in law was murdered by a gang member in 2012 and her family testified against the murderer. He was convicted, and his family seeks revenge.

Melida and Estrella have suffered horribly from more than 8 months in detention. Little Estrella was hospitalized for acute bronchitis and also suffered from acute pharyngitis, ear aches, fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting. Melida was diagnosed with PTSD, adjustment disorder with anxiety, and major depressive episode. For months she has watched helplessly as her child suffered.

Melida has been fighting for protection under U.S. asylum law. But her time in detention has been too painful for her and her 4 year-old, and she can’t take detention any longer and is being driven to give up.

No mother should have to choose between protecting herself from life threatening gangs or facing detention.

Melida’s case exemplifies everything that is wrong with what ICE is doing to asylum-seeking families. ICE has the power to release her but won’t. If Prosecutorial Discretion means anything, it means Melida and Estrella should be released from Karnes.

ACT TODAY! Don’t let Melida give up! Tell ICE to exercise Prosecutorial Discretion and release her!


Reasons for signing

  • Resist facism
  • Detaining people for long periods of time who pose no danger to our society is cruel and inhumane. Profit making prisons with quotas to fill are a scourge on our society.
  • Detention is not what these families deserve!