Gov. Inslee, AG Ferguson demand answers over imprisoned asylum seekers

Jun 7, 2018, 7:03 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2018, 8:38 am
asylum seekers, ICE...
The Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. (Sounder Bruce, Flickr)

UPDATE: Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson say they’re concerned about reports that at least 60 asylum-seeking mothers, separated from their children, are now being held at a federal prison in SeaTac.

The two Democrats sent a letter to the Trump administration Thursday night, seeking more information. They’re asking where the children of the women are and when they can expect to see their kids again.

Original story

Two women said they were brought to the federal detention center in SeaTac after they crossed the Texas-Mexico border with their children. They have been separated from their children and do not know where they are.

“We are pretty confident (the children) are still in the country …” said Jorge Baron, executive director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “The Office of Refugee Resettlement are in charge of children who are unaccompanied. But the children did not come on their own, they came with their mothers; we forcibly separated them from their mothers. They are now being held at these facilities, we understand, but we have no way of verifying that at this point.”

Northwest Immigration Rights Project staff estimate at least 60 additional women have been separated from their children and are also being held there.

Baron spoke with two mothers at the SeaTac who were removed from their daughters — ages 11 and 15. They were separated from their children because of a new policy put in place by the Trump Administration that processes children and adults differently when they cross the border illegally.

“This is unprecedented,” Baron said. “We haven’t had the situation with children separated on such a massive scale.”

RELATED: 7-Eleven, ICE and a bad move by Trump

“There is now a national move to move asylum seekers who came to us on the border to seek protection, and they are being transferred to five different federal prisons, one of them being the SeaTac Federal Detention Center,” Baron said. “The number we are hearing now from ICE is that 209 people were transferred. We don’t know how many of them are mothers with children, but I can tell you we spoke to two mothers yesterday who are asylum seekers who are separated from their children at SeaTac.”

Asylum seeking mothers in SeaTac

Baron said that it is unclear how many parents are at the SeaTac location who have been separated from their children. He said that the two mothers he spoke to were asylum seekers, fleeing persecution in South American countries. Baron further argues that US law is set up to accommodate asylum seekers and that law is not being honored.

“One of the women I talked to yesterday was saying ‘I’m afraid for my life and I’m afraid for my daughter’ who had been threatened and they had concerns about sexual assault as a 15-year-old daughter, which is unfortunately a sad common reality in places like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras where many of these asylum seekers are coming from,” Baron said. “So, ‘what was my choice? I came to seek protection and now I’m being punished by having my children taken from me.’ We are really, as a country, doing something unconscionable.”

KUOW reports that the women are fleeing widespread gang violence in the countries Baron references.

“They are supposed to go through the asylum process and that takes time,” Baron said. “….Our law envisions that people are entitled to seek protection and asylum. The problem here is that we haven’t determined if people are eligible to claim asylum and we are punishing them before they have had a chance to seek asylum … many of them are fleeing persecution and are seeking protection here in our country.”

Local News

Demonstrators march through downtown following a rally in support of abortion rights on May 3, 2022...
MyNorthwest Staff

Thousands protest throughout Seattle over abortion rights

Protestors congregated at the downtown Federal Building at Marion Street and Second Avenue, led by the Democratic Socialists of America.
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
Jordan Duncan

Capitol Hill Pride to move forward with event despite lack of traffic control from SPD

The march is not being permitted because the Seattle Police Department has declined to provide traffic control, citing low staffing levels.
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett

Get up to $250 in Visa gift cards at Kirkland police’s gun exchange event

A program to exchange guns for gift cards will be hosted by the Kirkland Police Department on Saturday, according to a media release. The event will be held June 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kirkland Justice Center, located at 11750 Northeast 118th Street. “Kirkland experienced six gun-related suicides since 2020,” said […]
2 days ago
Photo by Elena Di Vincenzo...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County prepares for possibility of another killer heat wave

King County has put together an Extreme Heat Mitigation Strategy to prepare for the rising temperatures set to start this weekend.
2 days ago
Photo by Lindsey Wasson...
Micki Gamez

Seattle is no longer the #1 bike friendly city in the nation

Even though Seattle was knocked off its pedestal, we are still one of the top ten bike-friendly cities in the nation.
2 days ago
Photo from @SeattleSBWU on Twitter...
Logan Gilbert

Starbucks workers go on strike over ‘union busting activity’

Starbucks workers announced they are going on strike today over the treatment of fellow workers.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Gov. Inslee, AG Ferguson demand answers over imprisoned asylum seekers