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‘Irredeemably Dysfunctional and on the Brink of Collapse’: A Journey Through Chicago’s Immigration Court

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Family members of detainees and community activists rally outside of the Dirksen Federal Building following a court hearing on June 11th, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. The family members and activists filed suit in federal court claiming Immigration and Customs Enforcement was racially profiling in their communities. 

CHICAGO — For the last seven years, Hasan has been in limbo, stranded in the byzantine immigration system where he is seeking asylum because of violence that nearly killed him and threatens his family in the West Bank. He’s spent many sleepless nights weeping, fearing that his wife or one of his three kids has been stabbed or killed back home.

“Why do they keep me for seven years with nothing happening?” asks the hefty, middle-aged Palestinian, whose life has been snared in the United States government‘s immigration bureaucracy since 2012, making him an almost mythic example of a troubled system.

Hasan, whose name has been changed for his safety, applied for asylum after arriving in Wisconsin, where one of his brothers lives. His application cited fears for his life back home in a small village near Nablus in the West Bank. Several months later, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services referred his case to the immigration court in Chicago, which covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. He has been waiting for a decision ever since.

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Thanks !

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