Alex escaped Russia with his wife after authorities started to pursue him for alleged extremism. His political views did not align with those of the government and he feared that the government might attempt to assassinate him.
They made their way to the United States in search for a better life, but suddenly found themselves navigating through a complex immigration system that hold little regard, if any, for people seeking asylum.
This is a reality that many people face upon their arrival to the United States. After enduring arduous journeys evading crime, and trekking thousands of miles from South America and other parts of the world, many people seeking asylum are met by hostile border officials and held in detention centers in squalid conditions.
“I was imprisoned at the border from 5 to 7 days… in that small room there were no windows, chairs, tables, nothing. There were about 30 of us, and we slept on the floor and on top of each other. It was very cold, and we were sick. They did not provide us with any medical assistance, although we requested it… 3 times a day we were given a bean burrito, a very small bag of juice, and a few slices of carrots. We had no drinking water… no toothbrushes, soap, and showers… there was a pungent smell of sweat and urine in our room… we survived with what they give us.”
After the week in detention at the U.S. Mexico Border, Alex was sent to the Adelanto Detention Center where he spent a year and a half waiting for his asylum case to be processed. He was not able to see his wife for more than a year, and was subject to abuse from Adelanto’s belligerent administration. When Alex attempted to share more details about his experience with the abuse, he became nervous and stopped himself out of fear of repercussions from ICE and of reliving the trauma.
On November 2, 2018, a team of ImmDef’s attorneys and advocates were able to secure Alex’s asylum status. Despite further attempts by Adelanto’s administration to stall Alex’s freedom, ImmDef managed to get Alex released quickly, reunited him with his wife, and eventually won both his and his wife’s asylum cases.
Alex has been out of detention for over a year now, and he is working hard to accomplish his goal of starting a logistics business.
“I feel confident in the future, this feeling I have long forgotten is beginning to return. In Russia every day I expected something bad … I love the United States for this sense of confidence.”
To learn more about ways to join ImmDef on its mission to support immigrant communities against systemic injustice in the legal system, click here.
Clients name changed to protect their identity.