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‘Treated like an animal’: Pastor in ICE solitary confinement

(NewsNation) — A recent report released by Harvard University and a human rights nonprofit has shed light on what it describes as an “endless nightmare” for migrants held in solitary confinement within ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention centers nationwide.

The study revealed that individuals were confined for days, weeks, or even over a year, with an average length of 27 days. This duration is nearly double the 15-day threshold outlined by the United Nations, which constitutes torture. The report condemns the practice as “cruel, inhuman, degrading, and illegal.”

Pastor Steven Tendo, who spent over two years detained by ICE, shared his firsthand experience with recurring stints in solitary confinement during an interview on “NewsNation Prime.”

Tendo, who fled Uganda due to threats to his life, described his journey to the United States as arduous, involving travel through several countries including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.

Upon arrival in the U.S., Tendo expected a relatively swift processing period, as dictated by immigration laws. However, he soon found himself in what he described as the “longest nightmare” of his life.

“Detention centers themselves are like prisons, much worse actually,” Tendo explained. “Being moved from the entire detention center and being taken to solitary confinement is like being put in a prison within a prison. It is dehumanizing, painful, and inhumane.”

Tendo likened the experience to excruciating pain, comparable to the suffering endured by stage four cancer patients. He emphasized the isolation, loss of rights, and degradation experienced in solitary confinement.

When asked about arguments against open borders and the absorption of every migrant, Tendo criticized the notion as “shallow-minded.” He highlighted the desperation faced by migrants, who often resort to illegal means due to the inhumane treatment experienced even when attempting legal entry.

“The entire way immigrants are treated and handled is either politicized or handled in a very inhumane manner,” Tendo stated.

The practice, which isolates detainees in small cells with minimal contact with others, has seen a notable increase according to the report.