On June 5th 2019 my younger brother Trevor was taken into custody by ICE/DHS at his job in Raleigh, NC . He has been transferred to the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, GA, near Atlanta. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Stewart Detention Center
is one of the worst detention centers in the United States.
Trevor has always been in the country legally under his F1 visa, OPT status and through his LPR(Green card). He was currently in the process of updating his temporary 2 year green card and his case was being handled by an immigration attorney. From the information that we have gathered, it appears that the USCIS never updated Trevor's 'attorney on record', and so updates and requests for additional paperwork related to his Family Green card petition were never received by his current attorney. Due to this USCIS clerical error, my brother and his attorney never received USCIS' requests for additional information. Unbeknownst to my brother and his attorney, USCIS set a a Green card case review court date and requested that my brother appear in front of an Immigration judge. Due to his absence, a removal order was issued in absentia
. According to an Immigration attorney that I recently spoke with, this scenario - where USCIS fails to notify an immigrant about their case/ or due to a clerical error, is sadly a frequent occurrence, and that it often leads to detention and deportation. His current and previous attorneys have submitted an affidavit to the courts attesting to the fact that they BOTH never received updates or requests for additional information from USCIS and have petitioned for a stay of removal.
On July 12 2019, the New York Times
published an article that attests to the fact that ICE is dangerously inaccurate, and has even detained US citizens due to USCIS errors for periods up to 3 years.
After my brother was detained on June 5th 2019, he was not allowed to contact his attorney to inform them that he had been taken into ICE custody. He was informed that he would have the opportunity to see a judge 5 days into his detention once he arrived at the Stewart Detention Center. We patiently awaited his updates, and fully expected that he would be given a bond hearing that would secure his temporary release. It has been 6 weeks and he still has not seen a judge. 4 weeks into his detention, he was told that there was a measles and/or chicken pox outbreak in his unit and that he would have to be placed under under an additional 30 day quarantine. My brother cannot receive visitors due to him being under quarantine.
My family and I have started this campaign to raise awareness about the cruel and inhumane detention conditions that immigrants - even those who have come here legally - are subjected to. From what I have gathered, it is possible that my brother, a college graduate, could potentially remain detained for at least another 6 months in a maximum security detention prison before he even receives a bond hearing.
My brother is currently being treated for high blood pressure and depression, and we are very worried about his health, safety and well being.
We have also started this campaign because we will need to secure a new attorney for my brother and would greatly appreciate any assistance you might be able to provide with covering these unexpected legal costs. We have some leads on new attorneys that we intend to secure who work specifically with detainees at the Stewart Facility and can also be available to file motions in North Carolina where my brother normally resides. Funds will also be used to keep my brother's 'regular life' going. He was taken into custody at his corporate job, and whisked away from his life...can you imagine being picked up at 2pm one random day? He has car payments, apartment rent and utilities - his normal life bills that will need to be covered while he is being detained.
Your support means so much to me. Please share this message far and wide... Even if you are unable to assist in a financial capacity, just sharing this message, keeping us in your thoughts and getting the word out about these horrific detentions would be greatly appreciated.
Let's get Trevor home soon!
You can read about Trevor on the website that I'm managing on his behalf here
SolangeNo End in sight - Immigrant Detentions at Stewart
Trevor was known for his uncanny ability to never crack a smile in photos :)
Ok, sometimes he managed to smile just a little...
Trevor and me growing up in Trinidad - 1987
Cub scouts with his younger brother Jamil, Trinidad. 1994