If a U.S. immigration officer takes you or your loved one into custody, the next days, weeks or months of your life may be quite stressful. Depending on the exact circumstances surrounding your case, you or your family member may be at great risk for removal. Whether you sought asylum at a U.S. border or have been living and working in Colorado for years, overcoming legal status problems isn't easy.
There have reportedly been serious problems in many of the nation's immigration detention centers. Sadly, some problems involve immigrant fatalities that advocates claim might have been preventable were it not for the negligence of immigration officials at those facilities. The more you know about U.S. immigration law and what to expect if you or your loved one face detention, the likelier you'll be able to access support to rectify a problem situation.
It seems to matter whether a facility is under public or private ownership
There are immigration detention centers in many states. Some are under private ownership and located in remote areas. These facilities seem to garner more allegations of civil rights violations against immigrants than their publicly owned counterparts. The following issues are problematic at many privately owned detention facilities:
- Many immigrants have filed complaints, saying they had trouble keeping in contact with spouses or other immediate family members while residing in privately owned detention centers.
- Allegations of misconduct and abuse by immigration officers appear to be more frequent in privately owned, remotely located facilities than those publicly owned.
- Immigrants at privately owned detention shelters have reported that officials denied them medical care when needed; this has allegedly caused the deaths of numerous people, including some children.
- The average hold time in privately owned facilities is reportedly significantly higher than publicly owned centers. Many immigrants stay in captivity in private centers for as long as 87 days before officials grant them relief as opposed to just 33 days under similar circumstances in publicly owned facilities.
It's always best to try to remain calm and cooperate as much as possible if U.S. immigration officers take you or your family member into custody. If you know your rights, it is easier to protect yourself from personal rights violations or at least file a complaint if a violation occurs. It can be frightening to stand up for your rights, especially if you are new to Colorado or have a significant language barrier.
Support is available
Many immigrants keep immigrant advocate contact information with them at all times. This way, if a police officer pulls you over or Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up at your house or workplace, you have all the information you need on hand to reach out for immediate legal support.