Detainee Stories

Live from Jail

Breakthrough went "live from jail" and interviewed several long time permanent US residents who face possible deportation because of unfair immigration laws. The threat of being exiled away from their families and lives is almost too much to bear for them. As one of them says, "this is a nightmare that I've not been able to wake up from."

Death by Detention

The New York Times and the Washington Post have recently reported on the shocking "System of Neglect" in immigrant detention centers that denies basic medical care to those detainees desperately in need of it. Watch June Everett's moving account of her sister's death in detention - how Sandra Kenley, a 52- year-old grandmother who had lived legally in the US for 33 years "was fighting for her life."

Anselm Ifill: Army Man Ordered Deported

Anslem Ifill is a legal permanent resident who has lived in the US for 25 years - he has known no other home. So much so that he put his own life at risk to serve his country for eight years with the U.S Army. Now, shockingly, he faces deportation. He candidly asks, "How can you deport individuals who risk their lives for the very beliefs and freedoms of this country?"

Betsy DeWitt Acquista: Tearing a Family Apart

Betsy Dewitt Acquista fell in love with Sal, an Italian American man in New York and they started a family. On all accounts he was American - he had lived in the US for decades, was a legal permanent resident, was married to an American Citizen, and had three US citizen children. Yet when Sal was arrested, their life spiraled out of control when they found out that he would be deported back to Italy.

Aarti Shahani: Reflections from Rikers

Aarti Shahani is the founder of Families for Freedom, a network for immigrants facing deportation. She has personally seen deportation tear apart her family. Hear her challenging speech at Breakthrough's public forum, "Why Can't America Have Human Rights?" at The Riverside Church in New York City.

Susan Davies fights to save her friend from deportation

Ansar Mahmood couldn't believe his luck. He won a Green Card lottery to live in United States. He worked hard as a pizza delivery man to support his family and educate his sisters back home in Pakistan. But all this changed after he asked someone to take his picture in front of a factory plant soon after 9/11. Before he knew it, he was being accused of terrorism. Listen as Susan Davies of the Chatham Peace Initiative tells of her uphill battle to keep him in the Unted States.

Agatha Joseph: Exposing Detention

Agatha Joseph's daughter was only seventeen when she was placed in detention. She spent three years fighting to prove her innocence in seven detention centers, as her mother helplessly saw her daughters life crumble. All this for smoking a joint with friends as a teenager. Is this the type of crime Homeland Security is trying to protect Americans from? Yet, even after all that Agatha says, "I still love America."