Michael and Michele are a loving, hard-working couple. But when Michael was detained after visiting family in Honduras, their dream of a life together disappeared. Here’s how Michele, a U.S. citizen, described their experience:
I never thought I would have to deal with anything like what I saw Michael go through in immigration detention. I couldn’t make sense of where he was or what was happening. It cost a lot of money for Michael to call me from the jail, and when he did, I was shocked to hear his stories: He and other detainees couldn’t exercise; the only food available was too rotten to eat, and he wasn’t allowed to see a doctor when he was sick. The guards told the detainees they were worthless and they should “go back home.” He was put in solitary confinement without any reason, sometimes for several days at a time. After a few months, he told me he couldn’t remember what color even looked like.
Learn more about Michael and Michele in a new video released this week by the National Immigrant Justice Center.
Michael and Michele won’t celebrate this Independence Day.
And for 11 million undocumented men, women, and children, Independence Day won’t be fully realized until we have critical reforms that would hold the U.S. government accountable for the treatment of immigrants it detains.
This Independence Day, remember Americans like Michele and aspiring Americans like Michael, who want to experience America’s founding principles of fairness, justice, and equality.