Family seeking asylum released from detention
Asylum seekers 15-year-old Astrid and her father Arturo were released from immigration detention at the Berks County Residential Center on March 23 after the successful petition by their lawyers to reopen their case and international pressure calling for the family’s release pending the result of their asylum claim.
15-year-old Astrid and her father Arturo, 49, are pursuing an asylum claim in the United States after fleeing their home country of Guatemala because of their identity as Indigenous K’iche. After living an ordinary life in their community since arriving to the United States in 2015, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials removed Astrid and Arturo from their home on 20 February 2018, and detained them at the Berks County Residential Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania.
On March 23, Astrid and Arturo were finally released after their lawyers at Aldea – The People’s Justice Center successfully petitioned for their case to be reopened and Amnesty International USA delivered petitions from the organization’s supporters around the world to the Philadelphia ICE Field Office, urging its director to release the family. Despite seeking protection, the family was held at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania for 32 days. Activists made over 1,600 phone calls and over 78,000 people across the world signed petitions demanding their release.