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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Letter from a Honduran detainee
The author left Honduras due to discrimination against gays, domestic violence, and an attack on him. D. got no help in filling out the asylum application (which must be in English), but he was granted parole except that he needs to find someone to sponsor him. He hopes to continue his studies. The letter also encloses legal documentation about the author's parole, which was removed for the detainee's privacy and safety..
Letter from a Honduran detainee
The author seeks asylum because of discrimination in Honduras for being gay. He fled to Mexico but still experienced discrimination there, so he decided to come to the U.S where he believed he would be treated better. However, he was harassed by CBP officers at the border and was put in jail for 10 days and then transferred to the detention center. At first he was in a "pod" or building where he was discriminated against, and he signed his deportation order, but an immigration official helped transfer him to another pod where they helped him stop the deportation process ang begin his application to stay in the U.S.
Letter from a Honduran detainee
The author seeks asylum due to discrimination against the LGBTQ community. He had signed his deportation order, but is happy that he found friends in the detention center who are also in the LGBTQ community and who are supportive of him. They helped him stop his deportation. He includes his life story.
Letter from a Honduran detainee
A member of the LGBTQ community, the author fled Honduras to escape discrimination. He needs help with commissary money, telephone credits, and finding a lawyer. He also needs some place to go when he leaves detention.
Letter from a Honduran detainee
The author informs the Allies that several members of the LGBTQ community have gained asylum. D. thanks the Allies for their help.
Letter from a Honduran detainee
The author thanks the Allies for the money they sent for food and phone calls, saying the letters the Allies send always bring happiness. D. also says that the money sent did not arrive in their account, and also comments that the "food that they give us in this place is very bad quality."
Letter from a Honduran detainee
The author has not received funds from the Allies lately, but is grateful for what has been received. He is a member of the LGBTQ community in the final stages of a claim of asylum. He gives his mother's telephone number, since he has no funds to call her. He wants his story to be told.
Letter from a Honduran detainee
D. writes that although his native country is beautiful, there are no resources for the LGBTQ community. D. is grateful and hopes that the Allies will continue to provide help with commissary and telephone accounts. The envelope is decorated with colorful flowers and hearts.

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