It took 16 years for Herberth Cortez Gaitan to have his asylum case heard, 9 more for him to be deported — and 2 years for him to return to the US after a federal court found that immigration judges had made a mistake.
With thousands sitting behind bars in America's immigration detention centers, some immigrant advocates, including many undocumented immigrants, are reaching out, setting up formal, and informal, visitation programs.
“Sometimes I’d like to imprison the immigration officials, the judge, the president, so that they can endure 19 days in there with their children,” says one woman who was recently released from immigration detention.
Some 100,000 people passed through the state’s four immigrant detention centers last year. The Dignity Not Detention bill will have to wait for the federal government to decide if it wants private companies detaining people.