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Antiwar Activists Who Flee Russia Find Detention, Not Freedom, in the US

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Many asylum seekers are launched and allowed to argue their circumstances later in court docket. However hundreds are despatched to detention facilities, the place it’s troublesome to safe legal professionals and acquire proof, and the probabilities of profitable asylum are extraordinarily slim.

ICE has not launched statistics on the nationalities of migrants being held behind bars, however legal professionals who work recurrently with migrants say Russian asylum seekers seem to have been detained at comparatively excessive charges in latest months — typically with bonds set in extra of $30,000. Some Russians have remained incarcerated for months underneath situations they describe as extraordinarily harsh.

“Proportionately, in comparison with individuals from different international locations, there are extra Russians being despatched to detention,” mentioned Svetlana Kaff, a San Francisco-based immigration lawyer who mentioned she has been flooded with requests for assist.

Just like the younger docs who had been held in Louisiana, many mentioned that they had come to america pondering they might be welcomed as allies in America’s push for democracy in Russia and Ukraine.

Olga Nikitina, who fled Russia along with her husband after he was imprisoned there a number of instances, spent 5 months in the identical facility as Ms. Shemiatina. “The entire time I used to be there, they handled us like rubbish,” mentioned Ms. Nikitina, 33. “I known as hotlines, but it surely didn’t assist in any approach.”

Her husband, Aleksandr Balashov, 33, was detained for 4 months at a facility in Batavia, N.Y., the place he says officers advised him and others that that they had no rights as a result of that they had entered the nation illegally.

Ivan Sokolovski, 25, one other activist, has been held at Pine Prairie for seven months. He not too long ago misplaced his asylum case and mentioned he fears that he can be deported to his dying. “It will have been extra humane to be shot useless on the border than to be held in jail so lengthy,” he mentioned.

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