News / USA

    Detention of Ukrainian Woman in Texas Is Questioned

    The weeklong prison detention of a Ukrainian woman who is married to a U.S. citizen in El Paso, Texas, has shed light on the difficulties of enforcing U.S. immigration law at a time when border agents are overwhelmed by a surge of migrants from Central America. While some immigrants are released to await a hearing, many others languish in detention.

    Former U.S. Marine Brian Price and Oleksandra Bronova, a native of Ukraine, were married quite literally on the U.S.-Mexico border, standing at the midpoint of the bridge that connects the cities of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas.
     
    Bronova had been living in Mexico, waiting for her resident visa to be approved; but, a friend who works in the system told them she might gain entry if she and her husband presented a marriage certificate at the border. Brian Price said the friend warned them that Bronova might be briefly detained and she was.
     
    "She was a little shaken, but we knew that this could happen. We had discussed it," said Price. "Even that morning, on our way to the bridge, I said, 'Hey, do you want to turn around? I can turn around right now or we can go through with it.' And she said, 'No, we have to try.'"

    Incarceration
     
    But instead of keeping her in the processing center, which was overcrowded, the border agents sent Bronova to a prison used for hardcore criminals.
     
    "I wasn't expecting to be in a maximum security prison and be forbidden to call. So the whole week I was there I was not able to make any calls and nobody could call me," said Bronova.
     
    Oleksandra, who already spoke Ukrainian, Russian, English and Italian, learned Spanish while living in Mexico and that helped her befriend many women detainees from Central America.
     
    "They said that they have troubles in their country. It is not very stable and very corrupt. The same things they were telling me about their countries' corruption, I can say about Ukraine," she said.
     
    Price called members of Congress, the governors of Texas and New Mexico and a reporter for a local television station. The day after the TV report ran, officials released Oleksandra.
     
    Her attorney, Cynthia Lopez, said all of Price's efforts paid off.
     
    "He was talking to everybody. I mean, if it wasn't for that, she would have sat there for months," said Lopez.

    Fair process

    The first thing Bronova did after being released, according to Price, was pull out a list of names and numbers her Central American friends had given her before she left prison.
     
    "When she left, the first day-and-a-half she spent calling these people's families in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, letting them know where their family members were," said Price.
     
    While Bronova now lives at home with her husband in El Paso, she said she is closely monitored by immigration officials and cannot go far from home. Still, Lopez said most of her clients wait in detention for months.
     
    "I haven't seen anybody get released other than children. I mean, there was a woman in here who was breastfeeding whom they wouldn't release. The deportation officers are not letting them out, the judges are not letting them out," said Lopez.
     
    Officials of the U.S. immigration agency, known as ICE, cannot comment on specific asylum cases, but an ICE spokesperson in Houston told VOA that every effort is made to provide a fair process for anyone seeking asylum and a safe, secure and humane environment for those who are detained.

     

     

     

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ed from: USA
    July 26, 2014 11:42 AM
    I know this is hard but we in the U.S. can't just accept everyone who wants to come. It impacts our social systems, schools, law enforcement and medical care. If they want to get out they need to think about living the immediate surrounding countries which are probably better, altho not as rich as the U.S. Certainly tho we should immediately this wife of a U.S. serviceman. Sounds like he did the right thing in this case.
    In Response

    by: Jadenskywalker8 from: Ohio
    August 21, 2014 5:42 PM
    We actually could accept all of those children and pay for it if we closed the corporate tax loop holes and deferrals that's almost 2 trillion dollars more in taxes

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora