Sadly, it is pretty common practice to place California immigrants in detention centers while they await deportation hearings and/or decisions. To immigrantion authorities this is often deemed as necessary. Unfortunately, this practice isolates detainees from their families. It also leaves these individuals feeling that they have no right to seek legal assistance — which is not the case.

A researcher at University of California Davis conducted a survey of nearly 500 immigrants who were detained for six or more months. They were held in detention centers that included jails, a private facility and a for-profit campus. It was found that, those held at the private center were less likely to see their families during their stays.

This finding is rather upsetting, as more private facilities are being utilized by the immigrantion and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Many such holding centers have been built in remote locations, giving those detained unequal access to visitation. By not having as much access to family members, detainees can easily get discouraged — especially those individuals who are held for years. It is hurting them and it also takes a horrible toll on their loved ones.

While it is not always possible to avoid immigrantion detention, those detained do not need to feel that they are all alone, and they do not need to fight deportation on their own. These individuals and their families do have the right to utilize legal counsel in order to fight for their ability to be released from holding facilities and, ultimately, for the right to remain in the country. While accomplishing this is not an easy task, an experienced immigrantion attorney will be able to help immigrants residing in California take the steps necessary in seeking their desired immigrant status.

Source: phys.org, “Private detention of immigrants deters family visits, study finds“, Aug. 23, 2016