By Alejandra Ibarra Chaoul

It was a rainy day in March, when Jean René Suprena listened intently to Jeremy Jong, his lawyer, inside the attorney visitation room at LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana. Both men sat across opposite sides of the thick plexiglass in the room as they went over Suprena’s asylum case. Outside, rain poured down on the isolated immigration facility surrounded by woods.

On December 28, 2017, Suprena crossed the border to the United States and turned himself in to the authorities to request asylum. A month later, after being transferred to three different detention facilities, he passed his credible fear interview –a necessary step in asylum applications. The detention officer who conducted his credible fear interview asked Suprena what would happen if he went back to Haiti. “I’d die,” he answered.

Suprena requested to get out of detention to fight his asylum case next to his wife and two kids, who live in Florida.


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