News / USA

Detention of Ukrainian Woman in Texas Is Questioned

Greg Flakus

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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

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.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid