From a translated letter sent to FFI from Aminata while detained at the El Paso Service Processing Center. Unfortunately, her current whereabouts are unknown.

My name is Aminata*. I was born on March 12th, 1996 in Angola. I am Angolan.

I have been in the United States since March 13th, 2017. I came for religious asylum, but they refused me on November 28th, 2017, because my lawyer did nothing to arrange my documents.

Indeed, when I came here for asylum, I didn’t even know that I needed to find a lawyer, and I don’t speak English. This means that I have had difficulties in translating my declaration because I knew no one qualified to do this translation --the beginning of my failure.

I then asked this girl in the room who spoke Spanish, who somehow managed to translate my declaration into English, but even then the communication wasn’t good.

The declaration didn’t have all the elements to convince the judge, and I didn’t know the language. I could only submit the declaration that she had done.

When I submitted the folder, the judge told me that I absolutely needed a lawyer, because I couldn’t defend myself alone at the courthouse.

I tried to contact family here and there to find me a lawyer. They saved up, they even sold land to gather money for my lawyer because my life is in danger and I absolutely needed to win my case to stay protected in the US.

Unfortunately, all my family’s efforts to gather money in Africa to pay for my lawyer did nothing to arrange my documents and, consequently, I lost my trial.

At the appeal I lost everything.

I was told that nothing can be added to what is already decided in court.

Now when I call my lawyer, she no longer takes my calls.

And I am facing a dilemma.

-      My parents sold their land to save my life.

-      I lost the trial.

-      The lawyer won’t pick up my calls.

-      Immigration wants to deport me.  

And I am scared to go back, and I don’t know what I can prepare myself for.

On Tuesday, December 18th, 2018, ICE wanted to deport me back to Angola. They took me at 12:30am to deport me. I refused to go. I was scared to go as I am a woman and can be exposed to rape.

My life will be in danger, as well as my family’s.

On March 7th, 2019, my deportation officer, Mr. Cesar – Mejia, called me so that I could sign the deportation. When he was speaking to me I lost hope and I signed the deportation with a pang in my heart.

I am desperate. I don’t know what to do to save my life.

Sometimes it hurts to see the injustice that occurs here.

I am tired of seeing people that arrive today and that leave tomorrow.

Without an interview, the deportation officer can liberate you without any legal documents. They just ask for the address and the sponsor’s number, to have family in the United States.

And I had an interview. Even though I [passed my credible fear interview] I was refused parole (conditional freedom). They told me I wasn’t qualified because I don’t have any family in the United States, even though I had given them my friend’s information.

And I have been locked up for 2 years and 3 months as if I had committed a crime, but I am just a simple immigrant. The only crime I committed was entering the United States in an illegal manner. I need your help. Please. I now have gastric problems since I have been here. For the love of God, please help me get out, even on probation.

If I wasn’t scared of this problem that I had in my country, I couldn’t have fled Angola for the United States because I knew the USA was the number one in the world for human rights and liberties, but to my surprise it’s already been two years and three months that I’ve been locked up in detention. When I left my country I was 19 years old. And I just turned 23 here in detention. It’s discouraging and deplorable. For the future of the youth that have goals, and especially for the young woman that I am.

May God bless you.


*not her real name