Archive for the ‘Family Detention’ Category.

Despite the Odds

On a Sunday in February 2016, I was at the San Francisco airport ready to travel to the family detention center in Dilley, Texas, to meet with my new pro bono clients, Marta and her two young sons. Moments after I arrived at SFO, I received word that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was transferring them to a detention center in Pennsylvania; they would be gone by the time my plane landed in Texas. I had notified ICE two days earlier of my representation and travel plans but the family was abruptly whisked across the country over the weekend. Blocking their access to a lawyer could extinguish their only hope of remaining in the United States.

Marta and her sons, who are from El Salvador, had been arrested in a nationally-publicized series of home raids on January 2, 2016, intended to deport mothers and children who had fled to the U.S. from Central America. Then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson proudly announced the arrest and impending deportation of 121 mothers and children, emphasizing that all of the targeted families had been issued final orders of removal. Secretary Johnson insisted ICE was acting according to “basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity.”

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