Individuals feeling violence and persecution in their homeland were detained in a federal prison upon arriving in the United States and asking for asylum. ICAAD and the Innovation Law Lab provided legal counsel and other services and helped secure the release of 81 asylum seekers. They will now be able to apply for permanent asylum and have their cases heard in immigration court.
In July 2018, 124 individuals fleeing persecution and violence arrived in the United States seeking asylum, and were instead detained and transferred to a medium-security federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon.
This diverse group of people represented 13 countries (including Central America, India, Mexico, and Nepal) and a wide variety of faiths, including Evangelical Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and those not identifying with a faith.
They were fleeing persecution for a variety of reasons including political persecution (e.g. one individual was targeted after converting another party’s members to his political party), and religious persecution (e.g. individuals from minority religions were targeted in their local communities and faced violence).
“Lawyers representing asylum seekers report that very few of their clients are passing the very first step in the asylum process, the initial screening interviews that would allow them to stay in the US to apply for asylum. Those rejections consequently set them up to be deported without trial.