The young activists, who crossed the border near Nogales with the purpose of entering detention to organize and demand humanitarian parole, were denied parole on humanitarian grounds but were later able to establish credible fear that returning to Mexico would result in harm or death. They were released from Eloy Detention Center late last night, and are eligible to stay in the country until their asylum hearings.
Though this is a huge victory for these young activists and the movement that supported them and demanded their release, the action took a heavy toll on the young activists. Several of the activists were placed in solitary confinement after distributing a legal hotline to the female detainees and beginning a hunger strike to protest conditions, one of whom had to be placed on suicide watch and was sedated after several days in solitary.
During their time inside they were able to document conditions and get testimony from detainees. The Dream 9 – five of whom are women – put much on the line to get this information and to test whether humanitarian parole could be a resource for long-term undocumented U.S. residents. The fact that they are now safely on their way home is a huge testament to the resilience of undocumented young people and the strength and power of their movement.