“What was the raid like for you?”
This was the question posed to children ages three to 16 who are currently being held at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, located about an hour southwest of San Antonio in Frio County. The 2,400-person-capacity immigration detention facility, headed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement but run by a for-profit prison contractor, is the largest in the country.
“Without speaking for them or putting words in their mouths, we asked the kids to draw their feelings about how they felt during the raid, and about the threat of ICE,” says Mohammad Abdollahi of RAICES, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that helps coordinate pro-bono legal representation for women and children detained at the immigration lockup in Dilley
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The drawings provided to the Houston Press by Abdollahi were created by children whose countries of origin are El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
“Some wrote a narrative in English, which means they were here in the U.S. long enough to learn the language,” says Abdollahi. “Some of them were detained during the winter break [from school].”