Independence Day for All? Fundamental American Freedoms Elude Many Immigrants

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.

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l do support the idea, human right abuses on immigrantes must stop now and today not tommow.

I think detainees should be treated with respect that all human beings deserve. However, I feel we should work with the countries from which the illegal immigrants come. What is it about their own countries that makes them want to leave and come here? There are probably more than 11 million illegals in this country. The U.S. cannot support them all. And if we keep coddling them with free food, medical care, education, they will just keep coming and continue to be a drain on our economy. We have enough problems with caring for the people here who are actual citizens of the US.

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