Collection Description

The Detainee Allies Letter Collection (previously Otay Mesa Detention Center Detainee Letters) documents the hidden stories of hundreds of refugees from human rights hot spots around the world--including Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Cameroon, Eritrea and China. The letters are from detainees held at various detention centers under the authority of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). These letters provide insight into the lives of asylum seekers and migrants both before and during detention. Identifying information has been redacted to protect the privacy and safety of the writers. Letters date from July 2018 to present.

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Asylum proceedings documents for a Honduran detaine
K. requests assistance in finding legal representation and sends legal papers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which are retained in the offline archive. K. testifies in the "credible fear" interview about experiences in their native country. Letters by K.'s husband (E. K) are listed as related resources
Asylum proceedings documents for a Salvadoran detainee
C. sends 5 pages of Immigration and Customs Enforcement legal documents, which are retained in the offline archive.
Document from a Salvadoran detainee
C. sends only a two-page document from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit listing decisions and dates that briefs are due.
Documents from a Salvadoran detainee
C. sends 12 pages of Immigration and Customs Enforcement legal documents, which are retained in the offline archives. C. was assigned a parole bond of $1,500. C. apparently refused to sign the documents.
Documents from a Salvadoran detainee
K. sends 17 pages of Department of Homeland Security documents, including a "Notice to Appear," a "Record of Determination/Credible Fear Worksheet," and "Credible Fear Interview Notes" relating to her asylum case. These documents will not be published online, but will be retained in the offline archive.
Documents from a Salvadoran detainee
C. sends a DHS document, a 'Warning for Failure to Depart," and instructions. These documents will not be published online, but will be retained in the offline archive.
Letter from a Cameroonian detainee
A. wants to share their story with the press, and hopes the Allies can help make their story public. A. fled from Cameroon to escape discrimination for being part of the English speaking minority, and is seeking asylum.
Letter from a Cameroonian detainee
A. thanks the correspondent but says that, although they speak French, English is preferred. The rest of the letter is in English, telling why they fled Cameroon and how they still need money for a $50,000 bond after 18 months in detention.
Letter from a Cameroonian detainee
C. fled persecution in Cameroon for being part of the English speaking minority. He asks the Allies for help, and wants to share his story.
Letter from a Cameroonian detainee
Part of the English-speaking minority who seek independence from the francophone majority, the A. fears reprisal if returned home. A. wants to publicly share the story by writing an article. This letter enclosed a legal document pertaining to the A.'s $50,000 bond, which was removed to protect the author's privacy and safety.
Letter from a Cameroonian detainee
In most of 16 months of detainment, C. has survived on the $1/day wage from the detention center. C. is willing to share the personal story and will recommend that other detainees contact the Allies too.

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