Juntos files Urgent Appeal to United Nations on Family Detention

12744129_10205995667358523_6621489754869539870_nA broad coalition of 60 local, national and international organizations filed an urgent action appeal to the United Nations on October 26th, 2016, urging them to issue an opinion to the U.S. government to immediately close all family detention centers and end the practice of family detention.

For over two weeks expert rapporteurs from the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) toured the United States in October, 2016. The WGAD consists of a panel of 5 experts from across the world and on Monday, October 24, 2016 released a statement with their preliminary findings on U.S. human rights abuses as it pertains to detention and incarceration abuses, including family detention. They said, “Various governmental, inter-governmental and advisory have recommended that family detention be abolished. The Working Group supports those conclusions.” We applaud the UN’s statement on family detention but we believe the urgency of these families requires more and immediate action as their human rights are being violated every day.

The urgent appeal details how family detention violates our families human rights because:

  • Deterrence Is Never a Legitimate Government Purpose for Family Detention.
  • Detention Violates the Best Interest of the Child.
  • Detention of Families Is Not Necessary Given the Alternatives that Exist.
  • Detention of Families Violates Federal and Local Law.
  • Family Detention Interferes with the Right of Refugees to Seek Asylum
  • The Process and Procedures for Detaining Families Is Unfair.

This appeal is also filed on the heels of the Department of Homeland Security’s own Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC) announced that their own primary recommendation is to end family detention all together and that if family detention is to continue at all it must adopt all 166 pages of recommendations that they have put forth. The draft of the full report can be found here.

Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos, said, “For far too long our families have had to wait to be free from the tortures of family detention. We filed with the United Nations today in hopes that the U.S. Government will see that the issue of family detention is now a global one, an international issue and the eyes of the world are watching. Human rights abuses are not just happening in other countries, but in our very own backyards and we must work together to put an end to these abuses.”

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This urgent appeal is filed and supported by the following organizations


Grassroots Leadership

Social Justice Lawyering Clinic, Sheller Center for Social Justice, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Detention Watch Network

Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)



The Kairos Center

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

U.S. Human Rights Network

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

350 Philadelphia

ACLAMO Family Centers

ACT UP Philadelphia

Adjunct Justice

Alas Movimiento

Aquinas Center

Asian Americans United

Black and Brown Workers Collective

BuxMont Peace and Justice Committee

BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

BuxMont UU Fellowship Peace and Justice Committee


Children’s Health Center

Clinicians for Healthy Families

Denver Health

First Focus

Franciscan Action Network

Free Migration Project

Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

Global Women’s Strike/US & UK

Grupo de Apoyo e Integración Hispanoamericano

Guerrero Glass

Immigrant Detainee Accompaniment Program


Lowry Family Health Clinic

Make the Road Pennsylvania

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Michigan Solidarity Network

Migrant Justice

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania (MILPA)

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Justice for Our Neighbors

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia

NWDC Resistance

Payday men’s network/US & UK

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

Philadelphia JACL

Philadelphia Storytelling Project

Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)

School Sisters of St. Francis

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York Social Justice Committee

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, PA

Unitarian Universalist PA Advocacy Network


Waco Immigration Alliance

Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike/US & UK

Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood

Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood


PHILADELPHIA – Recent instances of anti-blackness and overall racism in Philadelphia’s gayborhood, have made the news on both citywide and national platforms. As any Queer person of color can tell you, this is not a new phenomenon. Anti-blackness, anti-immigrant rhetoric and discriminatory practices against our communities are a commonplace occurrence in Philadelphia’s gayborhood.

As Queer Latinos, surviving and thriving in the face of such a landscape, is part of the resilient history of our people. GALAEI’s foundational work has always been to create access to the resources of holistic health, safe space and community for Queer Latinos. Juntos’ long standing mission has been to fight for the human rights of our city’s immigrant communities which includes ensuring that our undocumented LGBTQ familia is able to live and thrive in a system that refuses to acknowledge their existence.  Our work collectively has helped build our community’s power, raised the voices of those most affected by these oppressive practices and reimagined our communities free from oppression.

Yet our communities are still faced with what sometimes feels like insurmountable odds. Year after year our community has proclaimed that racism runs rampant in the Gayborhood to what feels like deaf ears.

We exist in a landscape of hiv/aids prevention work in which front line black and brown queer workers are STILL disproportionately and grossly underpaid, not in positions of power, overlooked for promotions at major nonprofits and organizations, in and outside of the city.  Black and brown queer people face racism in the very establishments meant to serve queer people. We have seen instances where our immigrant LGBTQ community have been denied admittance into some of the city’s most prominent gay nightclubs due to club policies that refuse to accept valid forms of identification, such as non-American passports or Consular ID Cards. Access to comprehensive healthcare for undocumented LGBTQ people is yet another huge barrier, compounded by limited bi-lingual staff and the reality that none of the resources needed by our communities are offered directly in our neighborhoods, placing the burden of access squarely on their shoulders.

All the while, community and government entities that are supposed to protect and serve ALL it’s community members such as the city’ most prominent LGBTQ rights orgs and even the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs respond to acts of anti-blackness, racism and discrimination against Queer people of color with silence, delay, and inaction.

When Queer Latinos dare to speak up against these injustices, we are verbally, and physically assaulted, criticized, and targeted by tactics that demonstrate that anti-blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment is not just the occupation of singular hateful individuals, but rather, embedded within the institutions that say they stand with us; but do not.

Juntos & GALAEI are organizations rooted in the self-determination and liberation of our people, striving to hold ourselves accountable to the intersectional needs and demands of our community. As such, we stand with our community and the efforts of The Black & Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) to dismantle any institution that serves to perpetuate racism in our lives, including city officials who stand in the way of our freedom.