Issue 16: "He never got out the door. ICE was waiting."

Welcome to this week’s edition of IMM Print Weekly, a newsletter that showcases the stories of detained immigrants and their allies.

We seek to shine a light on how immigrant prisons and jails impact human beings and communities, celebrate the work of those advocating for detention abolition, and provide resources on how to get involved.

In this week’s edition: ICE detains someone immediately after serving their prison sentence and one asylum seeker’s journey from the border to freedom.

Freedom for Immigrants is continuing to raise money for our National Bond Fund. Since we launched our bond fund, we have bonded out over 260 people, paying over $1.6 million. If any of the stories we’ve published in IMM Print have moved you, please consider donating here.

He Served His Time and Was Paroled. Then ICE Arrived at the Prison and Immediately Detained Him

Charles Jones is a 34-year-old Indo-Fijian immigrant who was granted parole after serving 12 years of a 13-year sentence for robbing a convenience store in his youth. On May 17, 2019, his family stood outside the California State Prison in Solano to welcome him home and reunite him with his children when ICE detained him immediately. According to his family, he barely made it out the doors of the prison before being detained again. He’s been detained at Mesa Verde ever since.

“We were right there. Charles called me in the night and said, ‘Mom, pick me up.’ The excitement after waiting for twelve years, all the expectation of a father who is about to see his kids again. Then ICE takes him.”

On October 24, an immigration judge ordered Joseph’s deportation without allowing him due process to call his brother in Fiji as a witness via phone and ignored evidence in the record that “torture and impunity is rampant in Fiji against criminal suspects,” according to the appeal.  He now awaits a decision by Gov. Newsom to pardon him.

Read his story here and sign the petition to keep Charles home.

Paving the Way: An Advocate Helps Secure Freedom and Safety for an LGBTQ Asylum Seeker

Activist and journalist Christal Smith visited immigrants in Tijuana to better understand what is happening at the border and provide support. In the process, she befriended an asylum seeker named K, who faced relentless persecution for living as an openly gay woman in her country of origin. They maintained communication throughout her time in detention and secured legal counsel through Al Otro Lado. K was eventually released to a sponsor through the Asylum Seekers Sponsorship Project.

“It’s all been a bumbling, messy, scary 8-month journey. There aren’t too many lessons you can learn from what we did because every case is different and if K didn’t have a special something - something I can’t describe but will have failed to convey if it doesn’t come through in this writing - then there are many many places along the way she would have become hopelessly lost in the system […] I speak with K almost daily. Yesterday when I asked how she was doing,  I learned a new word in Spanish: pesadillas. It means nightmares.”

Read Christal’s experience here.

Get involved:

  • Freedom for Immigrants has filed two complaints with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, denouncing the medical neglect and retaliatory use of solitary against the 5 South Asian asylum seekers detained in Louisiana. Please continue to keep up the pressure and call the NOLA ICE Field Office to demand their release: John.hartnett@dhs.ice.gov, 318-992-1594.

  • This family of asylum seekers is struggling to make ends meet after the father was detained at a routine check-in. The family's current source of income is collecting recyclables, which the mother does while her daughter is in school. Donate if you can here.

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