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Demand for release of 19 year old mother and her 4 year old son from ICE detention

Below is the letter I sent to DHS this morning:

Secretary Johnson:

I am an attorney representing Lilian Yamileth Oliva Bardales, a 19-year-old girl who attempted to kill herself on June 3, 2015 by cutting her wrists in the Karnes County Residential Center. She was driven to this desperate act because, in her own words, she would “rather be dead than” see her son fail along with her.

I am also a retained consultant for the Plaintiffs’ counsel in connection with negotiations to end the illegal practice of family detention.

Through this letter, I demand the immediate stay of removal and subsequent release from detention of Lilian and her son. If Lilian and her son are not released from detention to a safe place in the United States by the close of business today, evidence will be released that shows DHS has willfully detained Lilian, her son, and hundred of other families for over a month in clear violation of the law.

The depravity of DHS’ actions against Lilian is breathtaking.

Immediately after Lilian was found bleeding from her wrist by prison guards, she was thrown into a solitary confinement cell as punishment and stripped of all of her clothes except for a robe.

Her 4 year old son became an unaccompanied minor yet inexplicably remained detained in a secure, lock-down prison for 5 days in clear violation of 8 U.S.C. 1232(b)(3), which requires DHS to transfer unaccompanied minor children to the custody of HHS within 72 hours. This innocent baby boy was terrorized so that DHS could remove him and his mom before she could tell her story.

Only one day after Lilian’s attempt to kill herself, ICE officials brought her to the Honduran consulate so that she and her son could be removed immediately. Yesterday, I confirmed with an ICE official that Lilian and her son were transferred for removal to her native country of Honduras.

Lilian is entitled to remain in the U.S. through several avenues of relief, including special immigrant juvenile status (“SIJS”) because she is under the age of 21 and reunification with her parents is not viable due to neglect or a similar basis under New York State law.

I am act alone in this letter. I understand that you may question the motives in penning this correspondence. Lest there be any doubt, I write this because my conscience requires it. I cannot sit back and watch DHS continue to brutalize my client,  her son, and hundreds of others without any regard for the law and basic human decency.

I sincerely hope that you act quickly in staying my client’s removal and releasing her and her son from detention immediately.

Very Truly Yours,
Bryan S. Johnson, Esq.

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