From a letter sent to FFI from GE, who was detained at Stewart Detention Center. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Thank you for all your kindness and careful worry about me. May God bless you and all your life!
I would like to introduce you to my story of how I came to USA and how it was so hard, risk of life and challenged, and escape from my country because of political problems.
My home country Eritrea is so hard to live and survive for life because of government policy. It's so fearful and difficult to live there because Eritrean government and they forced people to join military service ... I don't have any options to refuse.
There is no future of educational opportunity. They do free labor, few with salary. Anyway, because of all this problem I left my home country and escaped to another country's border ... called Sudan, by illegal [means].
I faced again another challenge in Sudan - there is no permission to stay there as a refugee or immigrant. The police of Sudan, if they get you they send to my home country. They collect people and they sent to Eritrea. If they get me they send me to my country and the only chance I get is death. My government if they get me they put me in jail, imprisoned me for unknown years or they kill me. That's why I am so afraid of hiding for several months in Sudan and I left Sudan to Kenya and after Kenya I get a chance to get to USA by illegally if I crossed 15 countries, the whole Latin America, to reach U.S.
It was so hard to cross all of those countries illegally. It was risky and dangerous with many problems. I don't have words to explain all of that it was hard and unpleasant. After all of this I reach Mexico border of US by hands of God. Thanks God. God is good all the time!
But in Mexico again I kidnapped by mafia for three days. They take all belongings, my money and my stuff. I get problems, I don't have money for hotels, rent house or even for buying daily food (meals). I stay for 48 days on the street to wait until the immigration police call us and send (me) to USA but I was so scared because I don't have safe place to save me from the mafia and I don't have any money to buy even meals. It was so fearful and difficult waiting to get to enter to US. After all this one day I get chance to enter USA. The immigration sent me to USA by the bridge and I asked asylum seeker on January 2019 if they give us credible [fear] but they ask me to give or send them my original documents within 7 days. In my country there is no good networks, it means it it's not working from the detention [center] to reach my family. I call to my family thousand times but I can't reach them by telephone because of bad network. I can't get my original document but I came with copy of all documents. I sent to Judge all copy of my document but they don't accept [because] they need original, even they don't accept color copy, and denied my credible fear and transferred [me] to court after 6 months. I attend my master hearing but I don't win my case. I lose my case. The judge denied my case on July 2019. From July 2019 up to September 2020 I am waiting for deportation because of COVID-19 it can't work the proceeding of deportation. They stopped and I am staying for all these months with scared and fear of COVID-19. Do you know they checked us two times from March to September. First time they check us and within 15 minutes it means tehy take from nose some sample and they tell us wtihin 15 minutes results as I am negative. I don't think it's possible to know in 15 minutes whether it is negative or positive from COVID-19.
At the first most of us are (was) sick. We had the symptoms of COVID-19 except vomiting and diarrhea but we all get all the other symptoms - cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever or chills, muscle or body aches, loss of smell or taste. We get illness like this.
That's why I'm so scared and worried about us because I stayed with 60 persons in one pold. It is hard to prevent or protect again COVID-19 because there is currently no vaccine to protect, and the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-1o is to stay away from ill persons and keep about 6 feet or two cm lengths and stay home. That is the way to protect but here is so difficult with crowded people using the same room and everything is the same and shared and all stuff contacts each other. That's why I am so scared and feel unprotected staying. In October they take sample but they don't tell us the result. They make us worried and scared and it's so struggles to stay.
Cover art by Anthony Miranda