[ View the story "Immigrant detainees protest delayed cases at El Paso detention center" on Storify] Immigrant detainees protest delayed cases at El Paso detention center About 30 people stage action to demand resolution of immigration cases.
AJAMStream· Tue, Dec 03 2013 17:47:17
It is unclear who participated in the protest, although a
from the center contains the names of about 32 Indian men who have been detained for months. Sources said that the group consisted of Latinos and Indians.
After The Stream made several requests to the El Paso detention facility for confirmation of the incident, ICE spokesperson Leticia Zamarripa said, "There was no sit-in as you referred to it, demonstration or disturbance at the El Paso Processing Center today."
Despite ICE's denial, sources with direct knowledge of the event told The Stream that no injures were reported and a few of the guards questioned the detainees' intentions. The detainees were eventually taken back to their respective barracks and additional ICE officers were brought in.
Ungo Ramirez, a 33-year-old detainee from El Salvador, told The Stream before the protest that he and others were demonstrating because their credible fear interviews for asylum were approved, yet they continued to linger in detention for months.
"We are just asking for people to sign our petition so that our cases get reviewed and resolved. That we get an opportunity, because we didn't just come here to the United States for a better life, we also came here to seek refuge from all the problems that are happening in our countries," he said.
Credible fear interviews are conducted when those who are scheduled for expedited removal show their intention to apply for asylum or express fears of persecution or torture if they return to their country of origin.
"They should review our cases," Ramírez said. "We have submitted all our paperwork and case material, yet our cases are still delayed. Being here 11 months, 15 months is not just, waiting here for our cases to be approved. We don't have lawyers, we just keep waiting, and remained detained here."
Immigration attorneys in El Paso have raised the issue of a 2009 memo by ICE director
in which he provided for the consideration of release on parole for individuals who had passed
a credible fear interview, the initial step of an applicant's asylum claim.
Pamela Muñoz, an El Paso lawyer whose firm handles immigration cases, told The Stream in an email that alleged mishandling of the Morton memo continue in El Paso. "There are countless instances here in El Paso, including six between the three of us [in our firm], of individuals who have passed a credible fear interview, have documentation to provide ICE officials as to their identity and ties in the U.S., but have been denied release on parole," Muñoz wrote.
She added: "At least two of these individuals were initially told their request was granted, only to be told later that their request approval had been overridden and denied. In addition to the mental and physical damage caused by prolonged detention, in the specific instance of immigration law, it often results in applicants abandoning their claims in order to get out of detention. These violations of the ICE stated protocol and capricious adjudications clearly stray from the spirit of the 2009 Memorandum."
DreamActivist, the group that organized the
earlier this fall, has set up a petition calling for a full review of the El Paso detention center:
National Petition: Demand for Full Review of El Paso Detention CenterDreamActivist LLC | 1603 Capitol Avenue, Suite 310, A132, Cheyenne, WY 82001 | Phone: 307-363-1110 | Fax: 307-459-5837 | Twitter: @DreamA...