Issue 5: "We weren’t asking for much. Just 'liberty and justice for all.”

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 issue read one immigrant’s story of what he endured at a California private prison, why immigration bond matters, and one woman’s experience advocating for Mexican women in their migration journey.

Throughout the month of November, Freedom for Immigrants is participating in a Giving Tuesday campaign. We have an ambitious goal to raise $50,000 to bond up to 30 people out of detention. If any of the stories we’ve published in IMM Print have moved you, please consider donating here.

Behind the Walls of Adelanto

In the second installment in his series of essays, Carlos Hidalgo — a member of of our Leadership Council — recounts the horrors he experienced during his time in detention at the privately-operated Adelanto Detention Facility. After building a life and family in the U.S. Carlos was arrested by ICE in 2013 after cashing a bad check and spent over a year at the Adelanto and the Theo Lacy Facility in California,where he helped organize a multiday hunger strike of over 400 people.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, the food at Adelanto was at best a 1. The kitchen staff was careless, to say the least. We were given juices past their expiration dates, apples with worms in them, Jello that tasted like soap, and leftovers cooked differently up to three times in one week.

But the worst was on August 18, 2013. For dinner we were served ground turkey meat, but the meat was so badly spoiled that a very foul smell spread all throughout the dorm. It was so bad some gagged from the smell and others almost threw up when they found maggots in the meat.”

Since his detention, Carlos has advocated for California's Dignity Not Detention Act, lobbied Congressional representatives like Judy Chu (D-CA) to shine a light on the system, and started a petition with over 20,000 signatures calling on news agencies to use the term "immigrant prisons."

Read the rest of Carlos’ first essay here. The first essay in his series, which documents his escape from El Salvador, can be found here.

What is Immigration Bond, Why It Matters - and How You Can Help

Many people outside of the immigrant rights movement are surprised to learn that occasionally people in detention are eligible for bond, which would allow them to fight their case from outside of a jail cell.

Freedom for Immigrant’s Media Advocacy Specialist, Rebekah Entralgo, wrote a brief explainer documenting what immigration bond is, why it matters, and how you can help.

“Most families, however, cannot afford the high bond amounts set by ICE or immigration judges. There is no upper limit for immigration bonds and Freedom for Immigrants has documented immigration bonds ranging from $1,500 to $250,000 with a median of $4,250 and an average of $14,500.” 

Read the explainer here and share with friends who are interesting in getting more involved.

BORDERLINES: Separated Families Find an Ally in Frida Espinosa Cárdenas

The latest installment in our series highlighting women who advocate for, document, and aid immigrants caught in the dragnet of our country's immigration system is an interview with Frida Espinosa Cárdenas. Frida is the former Transnational Family Advocacy Coordinator at el Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (IMUMI) in Mexico City, Mexico, a non-profit organization that helps Mexican women with migration-related issues and currently works as an independent transnational consultant.

“Every step of the way, in my experience, you have a wealth of information that needs to be shared. That is something that is very urgently needed for stakeholders, but it adds layers of complexity in terms of how people are detained and separated from their families in this country.”

Read the full interview with Frida here.

To share your story, reach out to Cindy Knoebel at cknoebel@freedomforimmigrants.org or Rebekah Entralgo at rentralgo@freedomforimmigrants.org.