From a letter sent to FFI from G.E.R.S., currently detained at West Texas Detention Facility
While I am in this place, I will tell you everything that happens and the injustice taking place here.
Something I noticed lately is that many of the senior officers working here are resigning. Currently, there is a lot of new personnel. Is there something going on?
There is perceived racism towards Salvadorians, Hondurans, Guatemalans, Ecuadorians, etc. It is also noticeable that officers fear Cubans. They let them do whatever they want.
Most Cubans surrender at the Bridge. As a consequence, their court hearings are faster and soon after they are released. Cubans who have gone underneath the Bridge are released on a $2,500 bond while Central Americans who surrender at the Bridge have lengthy court hearings and are required to submit documents that are difficult to gather while detained. There is not enough time to submit all requested documents so parole is denied. If Central Americans would go under the bridge, the bonds would be posted for up to $20,000.
Now I will tell you about the 4 immigration judges that, in a matter of 3 minutes, decide the future of detained people without caring how long they have been detained for.
Presumably, the judge has the ultimate decision in the court. However, in El Paso, it is the prosecutor. I have represented myself throughout the whole court proceeding and became aware of how immigration judges and prosecutors work here.
1. One Immigration Judge, A, sets bond amounts that range from $3,500 and up to $8,000. He denies parole to everyone when he has not had a good day.
2. Michael Pleters is an Immigration Judge, is beloved by many. He grants bonds to most detained people and gives the opportunity to fight your case in other states.
3. There is another Immigration Judge who is a war veteran. He doesn't believe in gangs. He will automatically deport anyone who has presented a case related to it. On the positive side, he sets low bond amounts.
4. Immigration Judge T is the judge that no one wishes to have for their case. Why? The lowest bond amount set by him is $10,000 and the maximum, $20,000. He is harsh. His flaw is to let the prosecutor decide the future of the migrant in detention. If the prosecutor seeks an order of removal, the judge will automatically order deportation. Then, the prosecutor will smile sarcastically at the detained immigrant saying “I am sorry."
Now I will tell you about my case.
The day I was arrested by Customs and Border Patrol, I was taken to Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station. There, I was interviewed by an agent to whom I explained I was seeking asylum in this country.
As I was telling him my story, the agent began talking to someone over the phone and stopped listening to me. He then started printing several pages which I doubt was my testimonial. I would dare to claim that the person who he was talking to on the phone was telling him what to write in my interview report.
Months later, another ICE agent sarcastically provided me with the report agent the first agent wrote about my case. As I was reading it, I realized the report contained fake allegations that the Border Patrol agent made up to harm my case. As a result the prosecutor denied my case.
At my last hearing, I submitted all requested documents and presented my argument to the Immigration Judge. Although he let me talk, he didn't believe me because the prosecutor had already decided to deny my case. The judge only listened to her. He didn't take the time to consider my case and arrived at a decision on his own.
My court hearing lasted 4 hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. I fiercely defended myself with the evidence I presented. In the end, the judge told me that if I didn't agree with his decision I could appeal. I told the judge I would appeal to the Supreme Court because I have not had a fair hearing and the report presented by the Border Patrol agent was made up.
On February 7, I filed an Appeal to the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) and I have not heard from them since then. The mailing process has been difficult. They purposely sent my documents five days late with the intention to harm me. I still do not know if my documents arrived to the BIA. I am stuck in limbo.
This detention facility has been sued several times due to the abusive treatment of detainee migrants. All the immigration judges are aware of the inhumane conditions of this detention facility but they claim they can't do anything about it. Everybody knows how difficult it is to defend your immigration case in this state. Even the guards in El Paso comment about it.
Someone asked me, while I was at El Paso during a court hearing, don't you think it is strange that the court hearings are held in the ICE offices? What would you think if I tell you that the immigration judges and prosecutors in El Paso work for ICE? I said, I don't believe the judges and prosecutors would be part of ICE’s game. He said: think again. Doesn't it seem too much of a coincidence that rarely anyone wins a case here?
After thinking deeply about all I have seen and been through in this facility, this person’s claims make sense. If ICE were to manipulate the immigration judges and prosecutors in El Paso, it would be a shame for all the families, friends and the United States. Would they really study so much to sell themselves to ICE? I don't know what to believe. I can't say it is true because I have no proof.
Since the first day I was detained, I remember every single moment I have been through. I don't know if this is a gift...I don't know…
Since the first day I was detained, I remember every single moment I have been through.
The most senior detained migrants have requested access to English lessons, but we have been denied. It is difficult to do anything when you don't have the financial means.
If everything would go well with my case, my plan would be to go to Los Angeles, California. I have a U.S. citizen friend who would welcome me there.
I want to file a complaint on social media against the Border Patrol agent assigned to the Santa Teresa Immigration Station. He manipulates the interviews of asylum seekers so they lose their case.
It is time to stop the abuse from authorities.
This abuse of power comes from documented Hispanics. It is sad to realize our own race is harming us. It is the reality we are living in and this is what my case is like in Sierra Blanca.
I am working on a list of lawyers and pro-bono attorneys that are taking advantage of the families of the detained people. They don't appear at the hearings and don't care about the cases. When I have the list ready I will share it with you.
It is time to stop the abusive treatment against the immigrants. Not all of us are what some claim we are. Some of us are good people who want to change the world.
Some of us are good people who want to change the world.
I want to share with you something that doesn't make sense to me. Why do news media like Univision and Telemundo only broadcast Central American immigrants entering the U.S.? This alerts the Border Patrol officers.
Now, I will tell you about the “tank” I am in. There are 110 people. The heat is unbearable and the air conditioning units are turned off. We have complained but they don't care.
On Saturday, May 25, the guards brought food containing hair. We complained but they laughed it off. The guards take advantage of the absence of the high rank officers during the weekend to mistreat the detained migrants. Worst is the fact they are Hispanic.
This detention facility does not meet the requirements to host detained migrants. It needs inspection.
The newly hired personnel come at dawn while the lights are still off and shine their lights at the migrants’ faces. They want to be respected but they don't respect us.
This is all I have to say for now. I pray God this letter arrives in your hands with no problem.