Muslims raise $86k to release detained Hispanic immigrants

30th Aug 2019
Muslims raise $86k to release detained Hispanic immigrants

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest (Photo: Duffman/WikiCommons)

Harun Nasrullah

Muslim American campaigners have raised over $86,000 to bail out detained Hispanic immigrants.

The ‘Muslims for Migrants’ campaign, launched on August 5 by CelebrateMercy, already exceeded its original goal of raising $10,000 in two weeks. Campaigners reached $24,000 on the second day raising about $500 per hour. By August 13 campaigners had released two parents Alejandro and Tomas from Guatemala (not real names).

In 2017, the group raised $160,000 to repair vandalised Jewish cemeteries a year later they raised $240,000 for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Ryan Smith, a case manager with Chicago’s Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, said, “Looking at a project like this, I can’t think of something more useful to do with your money [than] to help detained families.” He added, “It’s underfunded, and for the families, I work with it is often eight months to a year before they’re released.”

More than 50,000 people are currently detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, while some 20,000 are in Customs and Border Protection centres, the report said. Another 11,000 children are currently in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The detained immigrants — undocumented or legal asylum-seekers — are held in detention facilities until they go to trial, where the court will decide whether they can stay in the country, or until they can pay their bond.

According to the Freedom for Immigrants Foundation, these cash bonds are typically higher than bailing in criminal cases and can reach as high as $250,000, with an average of $14,500.

Smith said the most of his cases range from $10,000 to $15,500.
Scores of migrants from Central American countries are grappling with the US anti-migrant policy at the border.

US President, Donald Trump, has pursued a hardline approach to immigration, both legal and illegal, since coming to office and has particularly singled out Mexico for what he says is a lack of action to stem migrant flows, where people are fleeing destitute conditions, including rampant poverty and gang violence, in the hope of securing safety or asylum in the US.
Washington also signed a safe third country agreement with Guatemala to reduce immigration flows in late July.

The agreement forces Central American migrants to apply for asylum in Guatemala and is rejected in that country before they can apply in the US, even though under the US law migrants are allowed to apply for asylum within the US or at official ports of entry.

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