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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora