"In the past, I thought I was going to leave, and still I'm here."
Those are the words of 42-year-old Haitian asylum seeker Ansly Damus
spoken from a detention facility in Chardon, Ohio.
The ethics teacher first came to the States in 2016 after leaving his home country due to fear that he might be killed by a local politician. But the U.S. wasn't his first stop. He went to Brazil first to try to make a life for himself there, but after hearing that Haitian immigrants were being brutally killed, he decided to escape to the U.S. and ask for asylum. That was nearly two years ago and Ansly is still being held in detention without the possibility to leave
,even though on three different occasions the court has sided with his cause to get him released issuing a "denial of parole." Yet, he still lingers behind in ICE custody.
In April of 2017, an immigration judge first approved his request for asylum. When he still wasn't released, the judge approved it once again in January of 2018. But the anti-immigrant Trump administration appealed the decisions each time.
Aside from contravening the court's orders, ICE is also breaking its own policy. According to a recent article, several ICE offices, including the one managing Ansly's case, have been issuing blanket denials of parole for hundreds of asylum seekers, independent of each seeker's merits. This goes against ICE's own policy to grant parole on an individualized basis. The blanket denials have ensnared Ansly's fate even though time and time again immigration judges have sided with Mr. Damus. This injustice must be fixed. It's time ICE follow its own rules and the orders of the immigration judge and release Ansly Damus on parole today.