These Lives Matter: Thanksgiving in Immigration Detention

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By Rashed BinRashed

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, neighbors and loved ones to come together and enjoy each other’s company with laughter, great food, music, and love. I take a very long moment on holidays like these to pray for detainees who are incarcerated, locked up, and can't enjoy the simplest joy of a holiday ... the company of their loved ones.

On holidays the kitchen staff are usually off at the county jails where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds immigrants. So the detainees for dinner are stuck with the infamous brown bag, a dinner that consists of two cold turkey sandwiches, milk, and some cookies. I know, because I endured three years of it. The holidays are the worst and the longest days for a detainee. Even the simple joy of a decent warm meal is missing on this joyful day. It sounds harsh and rough? It is.  

So I ask everyone who stumbles upon my words to take a minute to think and pray for those who don't have the chance to be there with their families and loved ones this Thanksgiving Day. To have a warm plate of the best dishes, or a simple cheers on an evening drink. Keep them in our hearts and prayers. God bless and happy Thanksgiving.

Rashed BinRashed is a client of the National Immigrant Justice Center who, after spending more than three years in immigration detention, has become a spokesperson about the urgent need to reform the immigration system.