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Baton Rouge Legal Blog

Outcry from U.S. senators over immigration detention situation

Thousands of immigrants in Louisiana and across the nation are currently detained. Sometimes, a single member of one family or entire families are housed in immigration detention centers while they wait for their hearing dates to resolve any number of issues, most involving legal status. A recent outpouring of support on behalf of detained immigrants came from several U.S. senators who say that there is ample evidence many detained immigrants are being mistreated.  

More specifically, the senators have requested that the Department of Homeland Security take immediate action against supposed forced labor that is taking place in some immigration facilities. Evidence apparently suggests that detainees in some locations are being forced to work meager pay in order to fulfill their basic needs, such as food. Some private detention centers are supposed to run federal voluntary work programs. However, detainees have said that they were forced into labor because basic supplies were being withheld from them if they did not comply.  

Asylum: Difference between affirmative and defensive applications

The average Louisiana resident may have difficulty understanding various aspects of U.S. immigration law. Even those born and raised in the United States are sometimes confused by the legal terminology or the often-changing regulations that govern immigration processes in this country. This is particularly so now that immigration is a hot button issue politically. For instance, many people don't know that there are two types of asylum: affirmative and defensive.  

Understanding the difference between the two may help someone who is trying to navigate the asylum process. Immigration asylum is an official protection granted by a nation to a political refugee who has fled his or her country of origin. Whether an asylum application is classified as affirmative or defensive depends on the means through which the applicant arrived in the United States.  

The importance of working with bilingual professionals

As someone interested in coming to the United States or someone who is already here, it's important that you grasp the rights you obtain within the country. In the case that you're accused of a crime, it's those rights that become important in protecting you against deportation and other serious penalties.

It is not always easy for those speaking a non-native language to understand legalese and charges that are placed against them. For that reason, you should always look for someone to work with who is completely bilingual. A good translator means a world of difference when it comes to defending yourself in court.

Minor flees immigration detention in another state

Many Louisiana immigrants are currently trying to rectify situations that have led to their own or their loved ones' detainments. Immigration detention centers in this and many other states are often filled to capacity, if not overflowing, especially since many areas have experienced an increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests in recent months. A troubling incident occurred recently in another state, involving a teenage girl who reportedly fled ICE custody.  

The child had been taken out of the detention center where she was being held, so that she could go to an eye doctor appointment. Officials say the girl took off running as they were leading her into the vision center. She apparently made her way to a local auto body shop where she entered and crouched down in a corner to hide.  

Immigration detention situation has father of 3 quite worried

As many Louisiana immigrants may attest, thousands of people come to the United States when they are unable to find jobs in their countries of origin. In fact, many later say they were living in such poverty that they felt it was better to risk illegally entering the U.S. than try to survive another day in their circumstances. Such situations often lead to immigration detention, as it did for one man in another state who had been living, working and raising a family in the United States for approximately 14 years.  

The man had held several types of jobs since crossing a U.S. border from Mexico more than a decade ago. He said those who believe immigrants come here to steal jobs from U.S. citizens are often mistaken because his own experience has taught him that immigrants often merely agree to do jobs no one else is willing to do. The husband and father of three young children says he was working in a meat processing factory when Immigration Customs and Enforcement officers raided the building.  

U.S. immigration law: Some immigrants fear it

For those who were born and raised in Louisiana or other U.S. locations, it may be difficult to imagine the fear and stress many immigrants experience when they arrive in the United States. U.S. immigration law is complex and often changes. Navigating the immigration process can be quite daunting, leaving some to question whether they want to brave crossing a border or should simply return to their countries of origin.

Stories of dire circumstances and mistreatment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents often prompt such worry. A man or woman standing at a U.S. border, deciding whether or not to cross, may hear that people have been chained up, families separated or others denied medical treatment in various detention facilities throughout the nation. In fact, some immigrants say they suffered physical abuse at the hands of ICE officials. There have also been several fatalities, which immigrant advocates claim were caused by lack of appropriate medical care.  

Woman suffered miscarriage in immigration detention center

U.S. immigration law instructs ICE officials to detain pregnant women in Louisiana and elsewhere who have not yet entered their third trimesters if their paperwork is not in order when they cross U.S. borders. A 23-year-old woman was approximately four months pregnant when she was detained. Sadly, she suffered a miscarriage in an immigration detention center, which she says happened because officials denied her request for emergency medical attention. 

The young woman asked that reporters not disclose her identity because she feared repercussions for herself and her family members. She says she began cramping and bleeding not long after being detained and begged ICE officers to help her obtain medical attention. Her pleas were reportedly ignored, and she eventually suffered a miscarriage. She also wound up choosing voluntary departure and was sent back to her country of origin, El Salvador.  

Immigration benefits the United States

Part of what makes the United States unique is that it is populated by immigrants from all over the globe. There are few residents here whose ancestors did not emigrate from other countries at some point in the past.

The world has become a kind of global community, which is partially due to the internet. Still, there are millions who try to come to America. If you are one of them, you should be aware that diversity is vital to the American economy.

Woman who sought asylum worried her husband will be deported

A woman who emigrated from Guatemala to the United States recently told reporters about the many challenges she and her family have faced along the way. She came here seeking asylum; yet, not only has that not been granted, her husband, who also fled their country of origin, is now facing possible deportation. It all began when the woman's family was supposedly threatened by gang members because she and her husband were affluent. They are now entangled in a situation to which many Louisiana residents can relate. 

The woman is a licensed nurse and her husband is a business owner. She says they were doing pretty well financially, until gang members started demanding money while threatening them with violence. It reached a point where she and her husband, parents of two young children, determined they needed to seek asylum in the this country.  

Executive order impacts immigration detention in Louisiana

Many Louisiana residents, especially those who are immigrants or have family members who are, may be glad to know that President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order whose stated purpose is to end a practice most people (regardless of political party) found morally reprehensible. In the past, children accompanying their parents across U.S. borders were separated from the adults while awaiting adjudication of asylum requests. In fact, more than 2,000 children were separated from accompanying adults when those adults were placed in immigration detention centers for entering the United States without proper documentation.  

It is definitely a hot topic across the nation, with strong emotions evoked on both sides. Many immigrant advocates say the executive order is a step in the right direction but that major reform is still needed regarding U.S. immigration laws, especially as they affect families. The president issued several public statements regarding his recent signature, saying a zero-tolerance policy remains in effect, but the government also wants to show compassion for children and their parents at the same time.  

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