January 20, 2021 a new Homeland Security memo went into effect, that could mean the release of some classes of detainees. Detainees should ask their lawyers or the Freedom for Immigrants hotline how the memo may affect them.
If you are in contact with anyone who could be affected, especially if they are detained, please let them know: “DHS just issued a new memorandum about deportations and any detainee should contact their lawyer or call the Freedom for Immigrants hotline (9233# from a detention center) for more information about how it could affect them.” Volunteers should, of course, refrain from giving advice on this and other legal matters.
To join LA-AID or volunteer with us, please fill out this form. At this time (January 2021) we have a special need for pen-pals and letter writers. We are hoping new members will take on a pen-pal, but we have numerous other projects and needs as well.
Would you like to be matched with a detained immigrant to correspond? They really appreciate it, and it would be one of the best things we could all do this holiday season.
To get involved, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up with this form. There are suggestions and guidelines for letter writers among the “how to” links, on the right side of this page.
By Carol Stubbs
These are excerpts of letters we’ve received this year from immigrants in detention.
April 20, Jackson Parish
I failed my case here before the immigration judge and on appeal. I am quite stressed. I am struggling to get a free attorney to help me to reopen my case. I have much health issues and I fear for my life if I am sent back to my country.
April 25, Jackson Parish
Life in here is so stressful and difficult for me. I ran from my country because of fear of being arrested, tortured and killed. We are treated here like useless animals with poor health conditions suffering from hemmerhoids, stomach ulcer, high blood pressure, eye problems. Please help me get a sponsor. I have been here for so long. My health is poor. I have been here for more than a year without hearing from my family. The stress is too much.
May 8, Richwood
I just lost my case 1 month ago it was with the worst judge ever here in Richwood, and I learned I can apply for parole but I don’t have documents or anyone else I can ask since my friend and sponsor doesn’t have any status here, so I am fighting on appeal by myself. I ran from my country due to the geo-political problem and crisis 1 year ago. I never knew I would get into this and come to America. But thank God my life is safe.
May 8, Jackson Parish
I personally learned and know this great blessed nation is the ideal place for democracy human rights and etc. But to be honest, we are really shocked at what we see. We are prisoners before being judged. They refuse those of us without immediate family members and even to most who have such family members. I personally asked them why they are afraid to release us as they have our fingerprints and eye scans. I wonder why they spend much money to keep us. It’s a very pitiful situation. This nation is too great. Please keep fighting for this bad system of detaining migrants here in the U.S.A. only to be abolished. It’s dirty, inhuman, and bad for humanity.
May 8, Jackson Parish
Up till date, I am one of those who always tell people that America is the best world power ever. I must say this country is so blessed and founded and made of migrants but a few money minded individuals are destroying and tarnishing the image of this country. Other than financial benefits I still don’t understand why America detains or allows ICE to detain migrants especially that at the port of entry and all the other facilities we were moved to. Our fingerprints and eyes were scanned so we are known, so why keep us in jail? This morning, one detainee approached the ICE officer asking him to know why they bring in criminals to join us in our dorms? But, as usual, the ICE officer responded rudely telling the detainee that we are all criminals of which no judge ever found us guilty and sentenced us.
April 21, Winn Correctional
My companions and I are desperate. I have two beautiful daughters, one five and the other six. I’m a man above all who has not known fear but here I have and I am very afraid now of not being able to see my young daughters and family again. That’s how I feel, what with the mistreatment and the humiliation, the hunger, the time imprisoned, I see that we don’t matter as human beings to ICE and the prison people, just as a way of making money. I’ve already lost hope for getting out of here. I feel like one of those little mice that they use in laboratories for experiments time and again, time and again until they’re no longer useful or die. That’s how we are now. Forgive me, but that’s how I feel.
If only they gave us an inkling of the value given a dog here in the United States we wouldn’t have had any problems but unfortunately we are not dogs; sadly, we are immigrants. I’ll close now, begging your pardon for all that I’ve written but unfortunately it’s the reality that all the immigrants live and thanking you for your attention and for asking us to write about our problems. May God bless you and all the organizations out there working for us. Thank you. I ask that if you can bring to public light these sad and painful words that we live imprisoned daily in Louisiana; but it’s our bitter and torturous reality. You can say that I, [name redacted], wrote with my own hand and words and tears in my eyes about this disgrace and that I am a witness and I recounted it to you.