“Siham Byah remains a political prisoner of the United States, two weeks in,” said her lawyer, Matthew Cameron. “We still don’t know why she is in custody, we still don’t know why she is suffering…”
Cameron was speaking to a crowd of over 50 people gathered outside the outside the John F Kennedy Federal Building in Boston, Massachusetts to demand the release of Siham Byah from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. It was the second rally in the nearly two weeks that Byah has been detained. The weather was windy, cold and wet.
Malika MacDonald who organized the rally, gave an extra thank you to those who braved the weather.
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked me today to have you all stop calling,” continued Cameron. “I’m going to ask you to keep calling. They’re hearing you. Every day they are hearing you, by the hour. Hundreds and hundreds of calls and it’s the only way they’re going to know they’re doing wrong. Because they don’t know it for themselves. We have to tell them that with our tax dollars, in our name, they are committing one of the worst injustices I’ve seen in twelve years, and I’ve been doing deportation defense for twelve years and I’ve sen a lot of injustice, especially in this past year.
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“There’s never a good reason for a deportation, there’s never a reason for a detention, but especially not here, with no custody arrangements for an eight-year old boy.
“No public safety threat. No risk of flight. Taking a working mother into custody and sending her back to a very dangerous future.
“We need to remind them that they cannot do this because they do not know it for themselves.
“This is a political fight. It’s the only fight to be had. We’re doing what we can in the courts, but they will not listen unless they hear our voices, together.”
Since being taken into custody by ICE Sahim Byah has gone on a hunger strike.
“I was there to see her recently and she’s doing remarkably well under the circumstances, doing something that would probably break most of us, I have to admit,” said Cameron. “Very, very difficult conditions down there.”
Siham Byah has written a letter that should be made public soon, said Cameron.
Adina is a friend of Siham’s. She was asked to speak at the first Free Siham rally, but she was sick. When asked to speak at this rally, she told Malika MacDonald, the organizer, “I can’t. I’m too scared.”
“But then,” said Adina, fighting tears, “at the age of seven, while I crossed borders, ships, awful buses, planes and everything in between, all I wished in this universe was there is someone who is going to speak for me.”
Adina escaped Bosnia when she was seven years old.
“Just five minutes ago I told myself, ‘You have to be that person that you wished for when you were seven. You have to be that person now for Naseem.’”
Naseem is Siham Byah’s eight-year old son. While he was in school, his mother was taken into custody by ICE and Naseem was placed in foster care by the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF). The family Naseem has been placed with is unknown to Byah or the family Byah asked to care for Naseem while she is in custody.
DCF said that a swimming pool in the backyard is a safety hazard and have told the family that a $4000 pool cover must be procured before Naseem can be turn over to them. They cannot afford such a cover.
“Siham is one of the most loving, caring and generous parents that I have ever met in my entire life,” said Adina. “I have yet to meet a child like Naseem. He’s so aware of everything around him, so polite and so caring towards others. And that’s a direct result of how Siham is raising him.”
Here’s all the video from the rally: