“Some of these men are being separated from their spouses and children which is completely unfair when these families are presenting themselves for help.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently signed a new contract with GEO, the private prison corporation resulting in the doubling of the population of the Aurora Immigrant Detention facility, almost all of which are Haitians.
Up until September, ICE considered Haitian asylum seekers temporarily protected, and thus many believed they could stay here safely once they made it to a US border. Jordan Garcia, with the American Friends Service Committee in Denver says that ICE is now resuming the removal process for many Haitians, even after the recent hurricane. Garcia says they’re hoping to get Temporary Protection Status for the Haitians and that they’ll be released on humanitarian parole, a mechanism that has been used for people whose home countries have been ravaged by natural disasters.
Garcia says a lot of the Haitian detainees were moved from a detention center in San Diego. “If someone were to come to a border and declare themselves at an entry point, then they would be treated as an asylum seeker or a refugee, depending on their situation. So these people sometimes present themselves at the border as families. What we’ve found is that many of the families are being separated and only the adult men are being detained. Some of these men are being separated from their spouses and children which is completely unfair when these families are presenting themselves for help.”
AFSC has been holding vigils outside the GEO facility in Aurora and plans another one on February 6th 2017. The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network is looking for creole speaking volunteers to help with know your rights training in the detention center.