From a letter sent to FFI by E.A.R., currently detained at West Texas Detention Facility

May God deliver blessings in the lives of everyone who is helping immigrants. From my behalf, I wish you all blessings and that He illuminates the lives of each of you. After this short greeting, I will move on.

I’ve been living in the United States for five years. I lived in Los Angeles, CA. I am Salvadoran and I was forced to immigrate to this country because of political persecution. Since August 26, 2013, I’ve permanently lived in CA. I was feeling confident because I had a driver’s license. But, after a short amount of time living here, they were bothering my wife because she had stayed in El Salvador with our kids. That was when, she too, had to come, leaving our children with my parents-in-law. It was them who helped save the life of my wife. She arrived to the United States in June 2014.

Then, they began bothering my parents-in-law because they were caring for my three children. I had to bring them also because they suffered through many terrible things. They were tortured and my thirteen year old daughter was almost raped on many occasions. This is all embarrassing to say, but it is the truth. So they came here because I was so scared that they would be killed and I feared never seeing them again. They arrived in July 2016. That was the happiest time of my life; we were all living together in this country. I believed that the nightmare was over.

Now I would like to tell you how ICE detained me. I have family living in Dallas, TX. I wanted to see my family. It had been so long since I had seen them, so I traveled. I was detained in a immigration checkpoint. I was with my three children and my wife. They removed me from my vehicle and I was arrested on that day, on December 23, 2018.

It was then that a much worse nightmare began. I’ve spent so much time already detained, I have been scammed by two lawyers and I no longer have money to pay for more lawyers. My children are suffering so much that in December they have been removed from the apartment where we used to live. They had been living off the savings my wife and I had, and with my wife’s small job, they were able to survive up until this point. But, on May 30th, they were evicted from the apartment because they could no longer afford to pay for it. They had to travel to Irwin, TX to ask our family for help. Now, they’re living with our family, but they have very little space. In the two-bedroom apartment they live in there were two adults and three kids. Now, because they are helping my wife and children, they’re very uncomfortable.

Art by Daniel Martinez, currently detained at Elizabeth Detention Center

The government doesn’t consider these things. The judge denied me everything I appealed for but they didn’t want to help my situation at all. Now, I am on the list of deportations. They made me sign my deportation. I didn’t have a choice because they told me that if I returned to the appeals court I needed to find another lawyer, and as I mentioned before, I no longer can afford that. Now, I’m much more worried than before, since the nourishment of my three children goes from bad to worse.

I also wanted to tell you that I was a victim of a crime in the United States in 2016. My car was hit by another car when I was at a stop sign and when I got out of my car, instead of trying to help solve the problem, they hit me and nearly drove over me. They told me at the hospital I had a fractured right foot. I have the police report and the bills from the hospital. I looked for a lawyer to help me obtain a U-Visa due to this crime. I have finished paying the lawyer and I have told them all of this, and not even then do they want to set me free.

My kids need me in the same way that I need them. I have a seventeen year old daughter, a fifteen year old son, and an eleven year old daughter, and my partner in life. We’re not married, but we have been together for nineteen years.

You know, I am very sick. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it anymore, I have had so many health problems. Well, I think everything I have told you is enough. I also wanted to tell you that I am a person and I do not have a criminal record. I have never been arrested, not here and not in my country. I am a person that likes to respect others.

The judge denied me everything because I did not present a request for asylum within my first year of entering the country. I gave him my reasons, but he doesn’t understand the reasons why I did not seek help for my migration status. Now I’m set to be deported back to my country, El Salvador, where they will likely take my life away, but there’s nothing left to do. Not even with all the proof of my accident. I was a victim of a crime.

By the time you write back, I may no longer be here.

Thank you for your attention and may God bless you always.