When Fort Lauderdale high school senior Minaldy Cadet got his acceptance letter from Boston College in March, he thought the life he had dreamed of was finally within reach.
“It was incredible. One of the best feelings ever,” Cadet recalled. “As soon as I saw their email, as soon as I opened it up and read the congratulations, I just instantly started running around my house saying, ‘Yah! I got accepted!’”
But the family soon discovered that an immigration paperwork mistake 17 years ago could derail Cadet’s dreams and his family’s future.
Cheryl Little on Trump's recent immigration speech.
Last month, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency quietly deported dozens of African immigrants who were trying to seek asylum in the United States.
Sixty-three men who were unable to secure visas to stay in the country legally on humanitarian relief claims, according to a source within ICE who spoke to ThinkProgress on condition of anonymity. Activists who spoke with deported individuals said they were sent back to Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal.
Immigration activists believe that number may be closer to 90. They also say many of these men shouldn’t have been targeted by ICE in the first place because they had already passed theircredible fear interviews — a preliminary step in the asylum process to determine whether immigrants would be placed in grave danger if they’re returned to their home countries.
Some lawyers say that black immigrants have the odds stacked against them in the immigration court system. ICE generally requires immigrants to have a sponsor who’s a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The agency also has stringent requirements for identity documents, which is problematic for immigrants from countries like Somalia where the government didn’t always have the ability to issue those documents, according to Jessica Shulruff Schneider, a supervising attorney at the Americans for Immigrant Justice.
“Many of the individuals that are Africans don’t have close family members or friends to assist them from the outside,” said Shulruff Schneider. “It makes it virtually impossible to fight your case.”
Los coordinadores de una organización sin fines de lucro en Texas no tardaron en darse cuenta del orden de las prioridades de las familias inmigrantes centroamericanas que buscan refugio en Estados Unidos.
“Hacíamos las citas con los abogados para consulta gratuita, estábamos esperando en el despacho de abogado y las madres no llegaban a la cita”, contó Mohammad Abdollahi, un activista con el Centro de Educación y Servicios Legales para Refugiados e Inmigrantes (RAICES). “Entonces nos dijeron que no podían llegar a la cita, porque no sabían o no tenían recursos para tomar transporte público y no tenían a nadie que las llevara”.
The Miami Herald’s June 27th story, An inside look at what happens to children after crossing the U.S. border, offers a rare glimpse inside the daily lives of unaccompanied Central American children in Office of Refugee Resettlement custody. The temporary, 800-bed Homestead facility is in addition to two local permanent shelters in South Florida.
For almost two decades AI Justice has been privileged to provide free legal services to children who arrive alone, in search of safety and a better life. Now we’re working overtime to help the children in Homestead. They are fleeing murderous gangs and drug cartels in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which rank among the most dangerous countries in the world.
Officials say unaccompanied children crossed border to escape violence
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s a new day in South Florida for hundreds of refugee children, but their future remains unknown. South Florida is now home to the only temporary shelter in the United States currently operating and taking in children – specifically teenagers – from Central American countries who authorities say were taken into custody at the U.S. border. CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen toured the government run shelter – a window into the dangerous crossings and hopeful escapes to freedom.