About Marlissa

Marlissa Joseph is a 22-year-old Bahamian woman who has lived in South Florida for over 7 years. Marlissa has an extensive family and support system in South Florida, including her mother, grandmother, little sister, and US Citizen stepfather. Despite having family ready and willing to welcome Marlissa home, ICE continues to detain Marlissa and deny her the care and support she needs. 

For more than 15 months, ICE has detained Marlissa in county jails throughout Florida that profit off her prolonged detention.  

Marlissa has been detained by ICE at Baker County Detention Center since December 2021, when she was transferred from the Glades County Detention Center. Marlissa suffers from seizures, asthma, depression, anxiety, and chondrocostal junction syndrome. Moreover, while at Baker, she has developed borderline diabetes after being forced to eat poor quality food for over a year and a painful mass or tumor on her neck that is causing nerve pain. At Baker, the Baker Medical Department removed her long-term seizure medication prescription without cause or justification. This withholding of her medication resulted in Marlissa having a seizure in August 2022. The Medical Department refused any medication or treatment, including denial of her request for ibuprophen for pain relief.  

Marlissa has also recently participated in a federal complaint detailing inhumane treatment, including the frequent use of physical assault, violent use of force, racist harassment, life-endangering medical neglect, verbal abuse, and retaliation at Baker. Marlissa has experienced firsthand egregious racial violence, including repeated racial slurs, and attempts by staff to physically assault her.

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I grew up in a household filled with laughter and happiness, so everyday being screamed at and having a door slammed in my face is mentally damaging my mind, body, and soul. So far, I have worn recycled clothing with blood stains, found worms and mold in my food, experienced racial abuse, medical negligence and the list goes on. -MarlissaClose Quote Light Blue

In the face of horrific living conditions and abusive treatment, Marlissa has organized inside detention and supported her peers as they all fight deportation. She has connected others inside to legal assistance and organized with other women to report out abuses, even in the face of threats and retaliation by guards. But she is in need of your support!

It’s past time for Marlissa to be released and reunited with her family and have access to the medical attention she needs.

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I was raised just with my mom and grandmom. Even when we moved to the States, it was always us. My mom always tells me how much she misses me. My little sister is nine and I haven’t seen her since she was six. She asks my mom every day when I’m coming back home. It will be everything to be with her. We were so close. She was like my daughter. All I want is to go to school and make my mom proud. -MarlissaClose Quote Light Blue

Marlissa has tirelessly organized from inside of detention to address inhumane conditions, like lack of medical care and unsanitary living conditions. Marlissa played a key role in exposing sexual harassment and voyeurism at Glades County Detention Center in the months prior to ICE pausing its use of the detention center.

Marlissa is an immigrant woman and survivor, who has been cruelly transferred around Florida by ICE. Marlissa is now separated over 300 miles from her loved ones and is fighting to reunite with her community. Take action to free her now!  

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Email ICE Assistant Field Office Director Cardell Smith at [email protected] 

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My name is ___________ and I am calling for ICE to immediately release Marlissa Joseph A#216358618 from Baker County Detention Center. 

Marlissa has extensive family in South Florida, including her mother, grandmother, little sister, and US Citizen stepfather. Marlissa should be released immediately to receive proper support and care for mental and physical health needs. 

At Baker, the Medical Department removed her long-term seizure medication prescription without cause or justification, resulting in Marlissa having a seizure and other painful side effects. Marlissa should be released to receive proper care and support for her medical conditions.   

Marlissa has also experienced firsthand egregious racial violence, including repeated racial slurs, and attempts by staff to physically assault her. Her life, health, and safety remain in danger each day she continues to be detained at Baker. 

It is time for Marlissa to come home to her family and her community. We ask with urgency that you release her immediately from Baker. 

Advocate on Twitter

Use hashtags: #FreeMarlissa #ShutDownBaker
Save graphics below and use on Tweets 1 and 7

Urge ICE to free Marlissa from Detention  

  1. Marlissa is a 22-year-old Bahamian woman who has lived in South Florida for 7 years. Despite having an extensive family and support system in FL ready to welcome her home, @ICEgov continues to detain Marlissa and deny her the care and support she needs. #FreeMarlissa [INSERT cover image]
  2. Marlissa has been detained by ICE at Baker County Detention Center since Dec. 2021. There, the Baker Medical Department removed her seizure medication prescription w/o cause or justification. This resulted in Marlissa having a seizure and other painful side effects.
  3. At Baker, Marlissa has experienced firsthand egregious racial violence, including repeated racial slurs, and attempts by staff to physically assault her. Her life, health, and safety remain in danger each day she continues to be detained by @ICEgov. https://aijustice.org/2022/07/21/a-living-hell-new-federal-complaint-lodged-by-immigrants-in-florida-detention-center-exposes-horrid-abuses/ 
  4. “I want to go back to school and finish my college education, that’s what I really want to do,” Marlissa said of her future plans. “I just want to make my family proud. I want to be there & support them. I want to be able to be there and watch after my siblings & to help them.” 
  5. “My little sister is nine and I haven’t seen her since she was six,” Marlissa told @Am4ImmJustice. “She asks my mom every day when I’m coming back home. It will be everything to be with her.” Detention is family separation.
  6. It’s past time for Marlissa to be released and reunited with her family and have access to the medical attention she needs! @ICEgov must #FreeMarlissa and #ShutDownBaker 
  7. TAKE ACTION: Email ICE today and ask that they urgently release Marlissa. [INSERT email script]