Held for 16 Months, a Detained Immigrant Recounts His Experience After Hurricane Irma

Ibrahim*, an African asylum seeker, has been in ICE detention for 16 months. He’s been held at the Krome SPC near Miami, FL, the Broward Detention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and also in regular prisons. Here, in his own words, is his story as translated by Barbara Woshinsky.

I was transferred from Krome in Florida to New Mexico. In that prison, the water was not drinkable, nor was the water we washed with; that water had a strange smell. When I washed, my body turned white and I itched all over. From there I was transferred to BDC [Broward Detention Center] where I am now, but what happened during the transfer was horrible and risked our lives.

We had taken off in a plane that didn’t have enough fuel and had mechanical problems, for the plane hadn’t yet reached normal altitude when there was a change in pressure that blocked everyone’s ears followed by a violent shaking, as if we were in a turbulent zone, even though we had just taken off. This went on for half an hour until we landed again. We were told we would take off again in an hour.

That hour became 10 hours in the plane, shackled. We’d had nothing to eat since that morning. We spent all day at the airport until around 6:30 p.m., when they told us we couldn’t travel that day because the plan had problems and we had to go back to detention in New Mexico where another flight would be scheduled. So we were taken back to detention in a minibus and finally transferred to BDC.

All in all, the conditions we live under in detention are unacceptable. We live in hell because we have no rights. Everything that’s written down about detainees’ rights is only words, because none of it is respected.

We are treated like criminals.

* not his real name

Editors note: We recently learned that Ibrahim has been deported.

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Held for 16 Months, a Detained Immigrant Recounts His Experience After Hurricane Irma was originally published in IMM Print on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.