Rally for Honduran Boy in Indefinite Detention


What: Peaceful Show of Support for “G.E.,” 14 Year Old Honduran Youth Granted Asylum but Indefinitely Detained

Where: Gibson Road outside of Yolo County Juvenile Detention Center, Woodland, CA

When: 1:30pm, Tuesday March 14

We are rallying this Tuesday to support a Honduran youth who fled child abuse and received US asylum but remains behind bars indefinitely for no apparent reason. We call on the Office of Refugee Resettlement to follow normal procedure and either provide appropriate foster care or release him to a responsible agency that can. “G.E.” was 13 when he heroically rose above a dangerous and abusive situation in Honduras and walked, on foot, to the US where he was detained. He followed the rules and applied for legal asylum, but turned 14 and was moved to 3 different facilities while waiting in jail. He was overjoyed that the Federal Government granted him asylum on January 10, but remains incarcerated for nearly a year without a release date.

We ask the Office of Refugee Resettlement to set a prompt release date so this child who has been through so much can begin the path to a normal life. “A 14 year old should be thinking about homework and friends, not about how to spend a future alone in a cell. We understand the need to provide suitable care, but adding further incarceration to the trauma this youth has experienced is not the care he needs,” said Seth Sanders, an organizer with Indivisible Yolo.

While his case is unique—it is extremely difficult to be granted asylum and it is extremely unusual to leave asylees behind bars—it also exemplifies how the system fails people who come to the U.S. fleeing mortal danger. There are close to twenty youths being held in the same facility as GE, and many more across the country, who remain in limbo. Fairness for these children requires an immigration system that will move America forward, respecting refugees’ human dignity and providing a pathway to citizenship. The second, broader purpose of our rally is to ask our elected representatives Garamendi, Harris, and Feinstein to take the lead in championing this crucial bipartisan cause.

About: We are Indivisible Yolo, a diverse group of individuals working to resist the Trump regime in Yolo County, in coordination with the national INDIVISIBLE movement. Indivisible Yolo uses grassroots advocacy to urge our members of Congress (Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein and Representative John Garamendi) to play defense at the national level.

Click here to read the San Francisco Chronicle story that broke this issue open locally


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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18 thoughts on “Rally for Honduran Boy in Indefinite Detention”

  1. David Greenwald

    Something important not mentioned in this article.  Most of the unaccompanied minors are housed in Solano and Contra Costa counties at shelters, but 30 beds are reserved for them in the Yolo County juvenile hall.

    What is interesting is Yolo County is the only locked setting for unaccompanied minors in the state according to the SF Chronicle article

  2. Sharla C.

    I was on the Juvenile Justice commission when this contract first appeared   There was a need for a locked facility, close to San Francisco where hearings took place. Yolo County Juevenile Hall was chosen over other Bay Area locations, because it wasn’t overcrowded, we provided education and access to medical care, it was clean, and safe.  Most detainees stayed a very short time.  They had their hearing and then released to their families. This is an unusual case, I think, the biggest of which is that he came to the U.S. with absolutely no family here.  So he becomes a Ward of the State.  If he needs high level care, then who pays for it?

    1. David Greenwald

      That would be an important question – why is a locked facility appropriate here?  And is indefinite detention a rule or the exception?

      1. Sharla C.

        A locked facility is needed for the same reason that it is needed for our own juvenile delinquents.  The minor was committing crimes and needed to be detained.  A form of detention is often typical for extremely troubled youth, but, now that his case has been resolved by the Court, juvenile hall is no longer appropriate. We wouldn’t detain a foster care child in juvenile hall indefinitely and that is what he has become, now that he has been granted refugee status.  But where?  That is the difficulty.

        1. Keith O

           The minor was committing crimes and needed to be detained. 

          By all means we should be bending over backwards to protect him.  Money is no object.


        2. Ron

           “The minor was committing crimes and needed to be detained. “

          David:  “Money shouldn’t be an object for protecting kids.”

          I know nothing about this case, other than what I’ve read here.  However, these seem to be two entirely different points of view, both based on conjecture.

          This particular situation seems to be more complex than what is reported here.


        3. Matt Williams

          I know nothing about this case, other than what I’ve read here. 

          In general on the Vanguard the commenting pattern that Ron describes is often the case

          However, these seem to be two entirely different points of view, both based on conjecture.

          Again often the case in many discussions including many different commenters.

          This particular situation seems to be more complex than what is reported here.

          Three for three

      1. Edward Diggs

        Context:  In 2009, with help from the Obama administration, a brutal dictatorship took over the Honduran democracy. Since then over 125 environmental activists have been assassinated, many by what appear to be military death sqauds. The European Union has worked closely with the United States to provide legitimacy to the dictatorship and cover up government atrocities, which have been escalating over the course of the last eight years.

        The least we can do as Americans is provide this fourteen year old boy a loving home, rather than a jail cell.

    2. Howard P

      David… the only question asked was, “If he needs high level care, then who pays for it?”  

      Nice deflection… did you study under a certain hotelier, turned politician?

    1. Sharla C.

      Tia, He is in federal custody, placed in Yolo County, per a contract.   Once he is released from Juvenile Hall, then he is no longer Yolo County’s responsibility. Yolo County also contracts with neighboring counties to house their juvenile delinquents. When they are released, they are the responsibility of the County that placed them here, not Yolo County.  The agency that placed him here needs to find a better placement for him.  They have three years before he turns 18. They better get started.

      1. Ann Block

        Sharla you claim GE was committing crimes.  What crimes?  There is no evidence that he ever committed a crime, anywhere.  Yolo County, as well as ORR,  may face significant liability for both holding individuals with actual legal status in the U.S. improperly and for improper treatment and inadequate care within its facility.

        1. Sharla C.

          People read that wrong.  The question was why have a locked facility for juveniles.  The need is the same for refugee youth as our own juveniles.  A fight at school or home will land a juvenile in juvenile hall, for example.  Even something as little as graffiti will land the youth in the Hall, if it is determined that the child’s home can’t control them.  Juvenile law is different than adult law.

          What I read in the Chronicle was that he was violent in the shelters where he was initially placed.

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