The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) caught our eye with their new blog series, “These Lives Matter: Stories from Inside the Immigration Detention System.” These stories will be valuable to everyone involved in the struggle for alternatives to detention.
The series, which shares its title with NIJC’s community blog project documenting abuses and deaths in the U.S. immigration detention system, will include posts from NIJC staff, clients, and volunteers. They’ll share their unique perspectives on immigration stories that do not always make the news – the travails of representing individuals in isolated jails, the obstacles immigrants and their families face as they navigate an overburdened immigration court system, and the realities of life inside the sprawling web of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.
The series’ first post is by Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis, a dedicated attorney for NIJC’s detention team, who reflects on her time as an advocate for immigrants detained in the Midwest. It begins:
I did not understand the true nature of an isolated detention facility until my first visit seven years ago to Tri-County Detention Center in Ullin, Illinois. Six hours after leaving Chicago, a carload of NIJC lawyers, paralegals, and volunteers turned onto a road with cornfields on both sides. In the middle of one of the fields was Tri-County, a county jail that leases bed space to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people in immigration proceedings. I have since visited many detention facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Missouri, and have met with thousands of detained individuals. However, that first visit to Tri-County stands out.
To read the rest of Wolfe-Roubatis’s piece, please click here. Also, NIJC invites readers to share their own experiences and reactions in a moderated discussion in the comments section. Please consider adding your own thoughts!