17 March marks one year since Valquiria’s son was taken from her, and a year of her detention. Her only “crime”? Applying for asylum in the USA. US immigration authorities must immediately free Valquiria while she pursues her asylum claim. Take action to demand her release!
Valquiria and her seven-year-old son Abel* fled Brazil after repeated death threats from drug traffickers who said they would kill her and her son no matter where they fled in Brazil.
They requested asylum at the US-Mexico border. US border authorities forcibly separated them and continue to detain Valquiria. The extreme anguish she and her son are experiencing due to their separation amounts to torture.
We have met with Valquiria a number of times in detention, most recently in January during a senior leadership delegation to the US-Mexico border to monitor the impact of US policy on asylum seekers and migrants. She wept as she recounted the moment authorities separated her from Abel, and explained the impact of being separated from her son:
“They told me, ‘you don’t have any rights here, and you don’t have any rights to stay with your son.’ […] For me I died at that moment. They ripped my heart out of me. […] For me, it would have been better if I had dropped dead. For me, the world ended at that point.”
Abel is with his father, in the US as he pursues a separate asylum claim. One year after their separation and still traumatised, Abel stares at the door waiting for his mother, and cannot understand why she does not come home.
Valquiria shouldn’t be behind bars and separated from her child. People seeking protection need justice and safety, not further anguish.
Tell US immigration authorities to immediately free Valquiria while she pursues her asylum claim.