Adelanto Detention Center Visit – Women’s Facility, Nov. 27: Check-in procedure (show driver’s license, name and alien number of the person I will be talking with, obtain key to a locker where everything I have with me is stored during the visit, go through the metal detector, through two locked doors in the hallway, and then into the meeting room.) So begins the visit.
The woman from Russia who I planned to visit for the second time was expecting a visit from family, and detainees (prisoners) are only allowed one visit per day, so I met with a woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I will call her Jane. The focus of our conversation was her situation with the attorney who was (supposedly) working for her release. Her family managed to raise $7,000 for Jane’s bond, but the request was denied and she has been unable to find out why, or what the next step should be, especially since the family cannot provide any more money. My understanding is detainees have the option of deportation but many cannot return to their country of origin for numerous reasons.
Jane and I talked about what her next step would be since her attorney was not responding to her request for her file. Not being an attorney, I was no help with this one. Jane was wearing red prison garb, which means there was some type of crime committed. The crime was domestic violence. She was arrested. Her husband was not. Interesting that Jane knew Anita, the woman I met during my first visit.
My next meeting was with a woman from Mexico – I will call her Susan. Mother of five sons, Susan was living on the street when detained. Her husband is also homeless, one son is in prison and one is attending Yale. If I understood correctly, the younger ones are in the child protection system. Jane and I were sitting just below the raised platform where the guard sits, so the three of us ended up talking. Susan has limited English (though much better than my limited Spanish). She was describing her challenge of overcoming alcoholism and the damage to her body, but was not familiar with the word “liver.” The guard used her fingers to spell out the word, since just saying it didn’t work out. Susan lived in the U.S. without papers for 30 years so she doesn’t wish to be deported to a country where she hasn’t lived for most of her adult life. No one in her family has sufficient funds to pay for their mother’s bond, so it looks like she’ll be in the center until some kind of miracle produces a pro-bono attorney to help her.
I understand many people believe that anyone in the U.S. illegally should be deported. If deportation means death, perhaps a better understanding will take place and a solution to this situation of detaining (imprisoning) thousands of people at taxpayers’ expense, making “for profit” centers wealthy, will end.
Please check out Immigration Systems 101 on the internet for details on Detention Centers.
Karla H. Edwards