Jorge Steven Acuña opens up about being detained by ICE
A typical day for a college student usually starts off with the constant snoozing of an alarm clock prior to our first class, but life as we know it doesn’t always go as planned. What I thought was supposed to be an ordinary college day, took a turn for the worse on the morning of Wednesday, March 7. It was on that day that I was awoken by several ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) agents, who had raided my house. Many have asked what it felt like at that moment, others asked what my first reaction was. My response to both of those questions is an astounding ‘nothing.’
It’s an amazing concept to realize how the life you have lived in a land you call home can come crashing down before your eyes as your father is being arrested next to the dinner table; a table that, by its rugged appearance, represents the countless memories of love and joy shared as a family through the 11 years living in the United States. Nothing was felt in those moments when I saw my mother cry before my eyes as she screamed out in anger for what had just happened to the man she has been happily in love with for 20 years. Nothing was said on that two-hour drive to Baltimore’s ICE Field Office. Upon arriving to the office, we were told we’d be let out that same night. As humans, we tend to find even the slightest source of hope in every negative situation. The idea that I would be home that night finally made me feel something: hope.
Three sets of fingerprints, countless tears, and two water bottles later, I was in a detention room filled with other detainees. Amongst the men, was my father. I explained to him that we were not criminals and we would not be treated as such. I assured him that I was going to make it to my class later that night and that everything was going to be alright. I told him this because I was hopeful it would be unjust to not let my law-abiding family be free. However, a decision was made that was sent from a superior down to an inferior, past another person into the commands of an officer who walked into the detention room and said, “… you will be going to a jail until you are deported back to your home country.”
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