California residents dealing with the immigration system might be very concerned about the potential for detention, especially with widespread publicity focusing on raids targeting undocumented aliens or those with deportation orders. Several people have been held in immigration detention centers for long periods of time, something that raises further concern among vulnerable groups. However, some do successfully challenge immigration detention and return home, including one high school student from Chicago. This student’s classmates raised over $10,000 in a crowdfunding effort to pay legal fees and secure her release.

The 18-year-old student fled Honduras along with her father after she was sexually assaulted by gang members. They claimed asylum, but have faced difficulties after they missed a scheduled court hearing in February 2019. They say that they missed the hearing due to a mistake in scheduling and paperwork. After they showed up to their next hearing in October, they were arrested and suddenly taken to an immigration detention center. When the woman arrived in the U.S., she was still a minor; she noted that she did not expect that turning 18 meant that she would be taken to a county jail also serving as a detention center.

Her father is still being held in immigration detention in the jail, which contracts with the federal government to hold immigrants. The woman will return to school and could graduate alongside her fellow students in May. The case has highlighted concerns about lengthy detention periods and poor conditions for immigrants facing deportation.

Many people seeking asylum have suffered severe trauma and violence but still may contend with deportation threats and the immigration detention system. An immigration law attorney could help a client protect their rights and work to secure their freedom.