"We are not criminals, we are migrants," claims a group of women detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) in an interview with Telemundo News.
The young women, many of those who entered the United States legally and requested asylum at the ports of entry, denounce what happens to thousands of others in their same situation: they suffer long detentions without bail. Some of them do not have lawyers to represent them.
The group of women, detained at the South Louisiana Correctional Center, also makes a new complaint: immigration authorities would be confiscating documents that would serve as evidence to fight their asylum cases in court.
“If you take away that piece of evidence how you are going to present an effective case,” asks Victoria Mesa, a lawyer at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
ICE responded to a Telemundo News request to clarify these allegations, saying that they cannot respond to the complaint without having all the details of the person filing it, but that they will investigate accordingly.
Under grant of asylum in Louisiana
The migrants shared images with this newsletter of demonstrations they have made inside the detention center to denounce what they describe as a human rights violation.
In the images they are seen holding posters that read "We are not criminals" and "There is no bail", "There is no parole", "There is no asylum".
María Rodríguez, a Cuban woman has been detained for more than 6 months and who arrived legally in the United States, reported that she has not been allowed to bail while her case is resolved.
Rodriguez also said that the officers of the center are touching the "private parties" to the detainees when they are frisked, and that the women "are afraid that ICE can take repressive measures against them" if they make claims.
The South Louisiana Correctional Center is one of many state prisons converted into detention centers after President Donald Trump assumed power and began implementing a zero tolerance policy towards immigration.
Lawyers and activists have denounced that this is perhaps the state where the least amount of asylum cases are approved , even after many migrants successfully pass credible fear interviews of returning to their home countries.
Did you apply for asylum in the United States? Your future depends on the judge and where your court is
Do i have to be in usa to request political asylum?