This month, San Antonio Express-News covered the story of Sadat Ibrahim, a gay asylum seeker from Ghana, who has filed a lawsuit with several other immigrants against Immigration and Customs Enforcement for holding asylum seekers in “onerous conditions” to deter them from pursuing their claims.
The lawsuit states that the government is subjecting immigrants “to such prolonged and harsh detention conditions that they will eventually, in despair, relinquish their petitions and return to their dangerous homelands.” Ibrahim has been detained for over two years, has been repeatedly transferred, and currently is detained in South Texas Detention Center operated by GEO Group. Ibrahim’s case shows that it is extraordinarily difficult to obtain the evidence and legal representation needed to win asylum while detained. In his case, the detention center also withheld the evidence of a CD containing a video of anti-gay gangs attacking his partner.
The article further details the terms of the lawsuit: “In their lawsuit, Ibrahim and three other asylum-seekers held in South Texas — a man from Honduras, who’d been in detention in Port Isabel since April after requesting asylum because his two brothers were killed, agreed to return home and was dropped from the case in January — allege that their continued detention violates their right to due process. None of them is a flight risk or danger to the community, the lawsuit argues, yet they’ve been in detention for a year or more. Lawyers representing them included in court filings affidavits by doctors who said the immigrants are suffering physical and psychological maladies because of their extended detention.”
Ibrahim has faced retaliation within the center for actions by advocacy groups to pressure for his release, as he was placed in isolation. Our original story about Sadat Ibrahim from September 2017 details more background on his case.