The following email was circulated by Riad Hamad on Christmas Day, 2006. Originally posted as article #715 at the Texas Civil Rights Review.–gm
Further to my emails yesterday regarding the Palestinian children and their families in the Hutto detention center please find below some more details and action required to help these innocent people.
I went to the detention center yesterday and talked to one of the women and provided her with cash for phone calls and snacks for the children since the jail officials are providing them with mainly pork and ham that they do not eat.
Today, another one of the members of the family called me from the detention center and informed me that that all three families in the detention center were in the United States legally and ALWAYS filed their immigration related forms and paid the required fees and taxes. The woman also indicated that two of her children are United States citizens and are now with their aunt in Dallas but with not much financial support.
Apparently, after 2001 some of the procedures were changed but they were not informed of these changes and their attorney failed to file the appeal on their behalf and that is how their status changed. All three families had male breadwinners who were working legally with work permits and earned money to stay off welfare or any other related social services.
According to one of the women, her husband suffers from a severe case of diabetes and was deprived of his medication for several days and when he contacted his attorney to inquire about his medication, he was beaten along with the three other male Arab detainees and no one has been able to know his whereabouts or his medical condition. The family of the man contacted the detention facilities in Haskell, Texas and Oklahoma where he was jailed but both facilities deny that he is there now.
Next steps: I will be retaining local immigration lawyer tomorrow morning to attempt and get a release of the women and the children and to determine the location of the men. Also, we will be providing the women and children with more money to help them cover the cost of food purchased from the commissary of the detention center due to the absence of Islamic Halal food.
We need your help by forwarding this email to your friends and colleagues and asking them to donate for the legal costs of releasing these families as it has already reached more than 5000 dollars and could easily reach 50 000 dollars sine the members of the families in jail are more than 6 adults and 14 children.
I will be providing you with the contact information for the federal authorities in charge of the detention centers in Haskell and Oklahoma to determine the location of . . . , the missing man with a sever case of diabetes.
If any one is interested in helping these families please email me and will provide you with my phone number to assign you tasks and pursue financial and material support for these families.
All donations will, be listed on our website to ensure transparency and that the families and the children receive the full amount of the donations collected for them and for their legal defense. The expenses will also be listed as they become available and you will be notified of any changes.
Looking forward to hearing from you and THANKS for your generosity, work and support for the children in Palestine.
Riad Elsolh Hamad