'They treated us as though we were animals': Letters from inside an immigration detention facility

Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT) July 4, 2018

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.

(CNN)In the letter, she calls the facility "la perrera" -- the kennel or dog pound -- because of the chain-link cages she and others were held in.

For eight days after she was captured near the US-Mexico border, she says she did not bathe or brush her teeth. She and other women slept on the floor under "aluminum paper" blankets, she says.
"They treated us so horribly, as though we were animals," she wrote in the letter, in which she called herself "anonimo," anonymous.
But worst of all was not knowing the fate of her daughter or son for 21 days after they were taken from her, she wrote.
The account came via Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit that describes itself as "a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization" that fights to "end prison profiteering, mass incarceration, and deportation." The group, which is circulating a petition to reunite separated families, posted the letter on its website on June 25. Four days later, the group posted several more accounts from women who had been separated from their children.
Grassroots Leadership volunteers met with the women in T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, organizer Bethany N. Carson told CNN. Those volunteers spoke to the women about writing the letters and "helped them figure out how to get the letters out," she said in an email.
    "They were written to tell their experience publicly to ask for help in being released from detention and reunited with their children," Carson said.
    T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.
    CNN reached out to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees Hutto and other fac