For Many Refugees, the Journey to America Ends in a Cold Jail Cell

While the United States decides their fate, asylum seekers sit in immigration detention.

"The Taliban, they killing all the time," Khan says in broken English. To emphasize this point, he lifts his hands and makes a tat-tat-tat noise as if hoisting a machine gun. "The Taliban doesn't know the word 'sorry.' You may be fine for one year, two year, three year, four year — then maybe 15 years they come for you."

Khan explains that a judge had asked him for police reports of the killing and death certificates for his parents, but those records either didn't exist or were impossible for his friends and family in Pakistan to obtain. It's likely impossible to verify his story without visiting his village to investigate.

Khan tells his tale the same afternoon Mohamed speaks of his escape from Somalia. As the African describes walking through a Brazilian jungle with human smugglers and dodging bandits along the migrant trail in Central America, he is clearly aware of how implausible it sounds.

Benicio "Benny" Diaz, staff attorney at American Gateways in San Antonio, spends a lot of his time visiting detention centers.
Courtesy of American Gateways
Benicio "Benny" Diaz, staff attorney at American Gateways in San Antonio, spends a lot of his time visiting detention centers.

"I tell the truth," he interrupts himself to declare. "I cannot lie before God."

Joe Tone and Margaret Downing contributed to this article.

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5 comments
cherrypoppingdaddy06
cherrypoppingdaddy06

Perhaps the people should go to India, or China for work...Here illegals are not welcome ..but jailed..
  In reality who knows they are criminals or not?   God bless the good folks who really need help.

jrm_94ford
jrm_94ford

The GOP has gotten really good on sitting on a lot of issuies

Puller58
Puller58

Asylum advocates ignore reality and dwell on sentimental stereotypes.

ad1389
ad1389

Accepting any refugees who are practicing Muslims is suicidal. They aren't the victims - they are the aggressors. We should be accepting the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and other non-Muslims that the Muslims persecute in every Muslim-run country.

 
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