The Persistence of Friends

Content note: mention of violence, sexual assault, and attempted suicide

man surrounded by flying woodpeckers breaking out of a block of ice. Woodpeckers are pecking at two other block of ice in which people re imprisoned

In appreciation of the organizations who worked tirelessly for the release of Udoka Nweke and other LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in immigration detention.

This illustration is in solidarity with gay asylum seeker Udoka Nweke. In 2016, Nweke had presented himself at the San Ysidro port of entry in California, asking for asylum.  (This is completely legal, btw.)

Nweke was detained by ICE immediately and held in Adelanto Detention Center for nearly 19 months, where he experienced homophobic abuse from other inmates. There, he attempted suicide twice. This suffering could have been avoided if he had been released early on parole to wait for the decision on his asylum case instead of waiting in detention while his case was being decided, a process that could take months or years.

Nweke’s journey

Read more about Nweke's journey from Nigeria

Asylum request

Learn more about asylum hearings and appeals

Is Nweke’s experience unique?

See what happened to transgender asylum seekers Johana Medina León, Camila Díaz Córdova and Roxsana Hernandez

The consequences of parole denial

Medina León and Hernandez died of medical neglect in detention. The conditions of Díaz Córdova’s detention were so harsh that she gave up on her asylum case. Díaz Córdova was returned to her home country in late 2017. She was killed in February 2019. Three police officers were charged with her murder.

How common is parole denial?

Risks for LGBTQ detainees in immigration detention

The numbers indicate that LGBTQ people are 97 times more likely to report being sexually abused in detention than non-LGBTQ people...


Read more