The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regularly detains immigrants in America for various reasons. Detention can be frightening because many times detainees do not understand the proceedings, the consequences they may face, or the best course of action if presented with options. Confusion in detention can result from language barriers, misinformation from other detainees, or even pressure from ICE authorities. If you or a loved one is detained by ICE, it is imperative that you contact a St. Louis immigration law lawyer to help guide you through the proceedings so the best decisions are made for you and your family.
Recently, Claudia Munoz Castellano, an undocumented immigrant and member of the nonprofit activist organization National Immigrant Youth Alliance, attempted to cross the border between the United States and Canada on April 5, 2013. She was detained by ICE and sent to a jail in Battle Creek, Michigan for almost three weeks. The importance difference between Munoz Castellano and other detainees, however, was that she got caught and sent to the detention facility on purpose. She wanted to be detained as part of an initiative to reveal the troubling experiences of immigrant detainees.
While she was in detention, Munoz Castellano spoke with many other detainees. She reported that many immigrants were unsure of the proceedings because they had been denied Spanish-language interpreters and did not have attorneys representing them. Others felt coerced into signing voluntary departure releases by federal authorities.
Ultimately, Munoz Castellano was able to prove her relationship with her U.S. Citizen estranged husband and was released on $4,000 bond, and was able to report her experiences. Immigration attorneys and activists have praised the drastic tactics of Munoz Castellano and the three previous immigrants who have been intentionally detained for the same reasons. They recognize that this is one of the only ways to expose what really takes place in immigration detention centers.