Letters From Inside ICE Detention
"I don't want to die inside these four walls, without seeing my family again. But that is what I fear is going to happen." These are the words of Elizabeth, a Salvadoran woman who is one of the thousands of immigrants being held in US government detention centers. While these centers have always been places where human rights are routinely ignored, they have become even worse during the Covid 19 pandemic. Dozens of people have tested positive in the center where Elizabeth is being held, yet still ICE is doing little to protect them. For example, Elizabeth needs to buy soap from the commissary in order to have enough to keep her hands clean for the week. In this blog, I will share with you letters Elizabeth has written me almost daily for the last six months, starting in November 2019, when I met her while working as a volunteer for a migrant rights' group. The goal is to let you know what the U.S. government does not want you to know: thousands of immigrants being treated like their lives don't matter. Elizabeth and I agreed on a pseudonym to use for her protection. I have also translated her letters into English.
Pandemic diary: Letters from Inside ICE
Detention is a particularly egregious punishment on those who have committed no crime. They are fleeing for their lives, and instead of respecting their human rights, the U.S. government locks them up for months and sometimes years, in horrible conditions, and without even the right to an attorney. My friend Elizabeth had no idea this was what awaited her when she fled El Salvador. She recently told me that she wants the world to know what is happening inside detention. I begin with the recent letters, then go back in time. These are her words.