Nineteen children are spending their second Christmas in a row locked up in an immigration detention center in Pennsylvania.
For a second time, Santa Claus will visit and local charities will donate presents to the children.
But the kids will not receive the one present many of them put on their Christmas lists: freedom.
The Guardian published Christmas lists written by several of the children stuck in the immigration detention center. Each one of them includes a request for freedom.
"I want my freedom [...] and some Transformers."
The wish lists are heartbreaking.
They feature a bunch of toys that many American kids ask for, from "Frozen" headphones to dolls. But then there's that additional wish to be let out of the detention center.
"I love computers, PlayStation, to go to the beach, video games, but in here it's not allowed. That's why I want my freedom."
"That present should be my freedom and more things."
The children who wrote these lists range in age from 2 to 9. A 2-year-old wrote the list above.
"1. To leave here, the Berks Center. 2. To be with my daddy."
They are being held at the Berks County Residential Center by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"I want free and stay with my father I not want anything else."
The children and their mothers are caught in legal limbo. They were all given deportation orders, but the ACLU is challenging the cases.
"Frozen headphones, shoes, an iPad, sweets, a skateboard, to leave here with my mommy. I am 6-years-old."
One mother, Amparo, told The Guardian,
We are not criminals or delinquents to spend so much time in a prison. My son doesn't want to be here, the only present he wants is to get out. Every day he watches the visitors arrive in their cars and he shouts at them through the window: 'Take me away! Take me with you!'
"I want my freedom to be with my aunts and uncles. I don't want to return to my country. And also I want a remote control airplane."
Many of these families were fleeing drug and gang violence in hopes of a better life in the United States.
The only thing this girl asked Santa was to be with her little sister.
I am a girl who has her whole life left and I want to have the same freedom like any other girl and the only thing I ask on this day is an opportunity to be with the person who is waiting for me outside and this person has a very tiny heart.
CarolAnne Donohoe, an immigration attorney for many of the families in this detention center put her anger on the Obama administration. She told The Guardian,
We've been asking for two and a half years why Obama and his administration are so recalcitrant in detaining children. It is 100 percent his administration that put family detention on steroids and it is 100 percent within his power to end it.
Citations: The Guardian