The Traumatizing Effects of Immigrant Detention Centers

Immigration detention centers are often used in the United States to hold immigrants whose status is unknown or court dates are pending. Unfortunately, many reports details these detention centers as places that are not only uncomfortable, but downright traumatizing. If you or a family member is being held in a detention center and need legal help, the immigration attorneys at Goldstein Immigration Lawyers can help.

Reliving Past Traumas

For many of those who are being held in immigrant detention centers, life has already been traumatic. Take, for example, the life of Yanira, a 41-year-old Guatemalan who tried to make her way to the U.S., her three children in tow, due to horrible gang violence within her own country. Many other women like Yanira have reported witnessing the death of a loved one, murder, rape, and extreme violence during their lives in their home countries, and on their journeys to the U.S.

Detention centers don’t make those experiences less frightening; rather, they may re-trigger awful memories for some. In fact, researchers at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) interviewed 26 people released from family detention centers in July of 2015. Of those, more than half of the people suffered from symptoms of anxiety and depression, and almost half suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Immigrant Detention Centers – Are They Humane?

In an immigrant detention center, say some, the care isn’t up to par. For example, Yanira, mentioned above, told ThinkProgress that she would have to wait two to three hours to see a doctor upon getting sick, and that when her asthma acted up, she wasn’t properly cared for.

In addition to lack of timely medical care, there may be a lack of proper supplies, too. One woman reported that sanitary napkins are rationed, and that one girl had bled through her clothes as a result. Poor legal representation and poor treatment from detention personnel is another concern.

Furthermore, many women reported that the most traumatic part of the whole experience is in the initial holding center. It is at this area that children are separated from their mothers, bringing up past memories of murder and kidnapping of children. Some mothers even reported that they were threatened by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials that their children would be taken if they didn’t comply with rules.

What to Do When Held in an Immigration Detention Center

Even if you are not a legal U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you still have rights. One of those rights is the right to legal counsel. If you are being held in an immigration detention center, are facing deportation, or believe that your rights have been violated, our immigration attorneys want to help you. At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers we are ready to fight for you today. Call us immediately if you need legal counsel at 617-722-0005.