AI Justice had to reach out to officials in Washington, D.C. to obtain justice for “Elisa”, a survivor of domestic violence who was detained at the Broward Transitional Center (BTC) for a year despite an Asylum Officer’s finding that she had a credible fear of persecution if deported. Her long-term detention exacerbated the trauma she suffered back home at the hands of her abuser. While detained, Elisa was repeatedly hospitalized for treatment of depression, and prescribed a cocktail of drugs which only worsened her condition. BTC’s own doctors recognized that BTC was an inappropriate environment for her and requested Elisa’s removal from the facility.
The immigration judge at BTC wrongfully denied Elisa’s asylum case and we appealed his decision and won. Although a new date was set for Elisa’s asylum claim to again be considered, her deteriorating mental state prevented her from helping prepare her case. After local officials denied Elisa’s release, we contacted officials in D.C. and she was finally united with her sponsor in Miami. In the short time since, she has recovered significantly and finally feels safe and free.