Few issues in American politics are more propagandized than Immigration. On one side, we have people shouting "Abolish ICE." On the other, "Build the wall." As the border becomes more militarized and the conflict escalates, it's more difficult to get the truth about immigration-related issues.

Therefore, I decided to go to federal immigration court in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, to witness it myself.

Torture victims in Africa have become detainees in the US

Before heading to the federal courthouse in downtown Cleveland, I met up with Lynn Tramonte, Director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance.

We walked to the courthouse together. Our original plan was to sit in on a bond hearing for a Mauritanian man being held in an ICE detention center near Cincinnati, Ohio. This man fled Mauritania for the United States almost twenty years ago and is filing for asylum. He's been checking in with ICE on a regular basis, but thanks to new Trump-era policies, the last time he checked in, they arrested him and transported him to an ICE detention center.

This isn't much of a surprise since Tramonte says the regional ICE branch, headquartered in Detroit, is one of the most aggressive in the nation.

The Trump administration changed the rules for Mauritanian immigrants

The Mauritanian man whose bond hearing was scheduled that afternoon didn't get his day in court. At the last minute, the detention center, located in Cincinnati, "accidentally" transported him to a different facility in Morrow County, Ohio. He'll have to wait in detention for several more weeks.

It's no secret that the Trump administration has been more hostile to immigrants than past administrations. But for many Black Mauritanians seeking asylum in the United States, the wait is worth it, even in the grim conditions of ICE detention centers, which are prison-like facilities.

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According to America's Voice, "In Mauritania, the ruling Arab Moors view Black Mauritanians as property, members of the slave caste. Black Mauritanians have been arrested for specious reasons; tortured and killed, expelled from the country, forced to work as slaves (even as children), purged from the nation’s census rolls, and had their land stolen."

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many Mauritanians were granted asylum in the U.S., but others were denied asylum--often because they missed the filing deadline or had poor legal representation.

The Mauritanians who lost their cases became eligible for deportation--but, because of the well-documented torture and oppression of Black Mauritanians by the ruling Moors, the U.S. government declined to deport them. Instead, the Mauritanians agreed to be monitored by ICE and check in with them on a regular basis.

However, the Trump administration suddenly changed the check-ins to "check-ins for deportation," and immigrants who followed the rules and showed up to check in with ICE were promptly apprehended and sent to detention centers.

I'll be back in court in two weeks to see whether this Mauritanian man will be granted bond. So far, it's hard to say whether it will go well for him: I also observed the bond hearing for a Honduran immigrant, brought here at age five by his mother, whose bond was set at $12,000--a high price for low-wage-earning immigrants.

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