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A Story of Detention: #DetainedNotContained

April 15, 2013

Written by Carly Perez, Detention Watch Network

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Detained Not Contained:

Detained not Contained lifts up the voices of those directly affected, recognizing their strength and resilience.

“Being held is not easy, there are feelings of disillusionment, total hopelessness, and despair for freedom and being with family and friends,” said Detention Watch Network (DWN) member Marco Galdino, who endured seven years of detention in Arizona. “It is rather difficult to explain all the feelings one has while detained.”


After escaping persecutionfor his sexual orientation in his native Sao Paul, Brazil, Galdino immigrated to the United States in 1995 with a tourist visa. Unfamiliar with U.S. laws, Galdino did not seek political asylum, and in 2005 he was stopped for a traffic violation in Utah, resulting in his arrest for being undocumented. Although never considered a security risk, for the next seven years Galdino was subject to poor conditions, harassment from officers, and transfers to other facilities while in detention.

 “One tries desperately to have the strength to live day-to-day through reading, prayer and always looking for support,” said Galdino. Throughout his time in detention, Galdino strived to stay positive by writing in his journal, which now amounts to 2,400 pages, spending endless hours in the library learning about US immigration laws, and helping others translate documents.

After being released, Galdino became actively involved in the Casa Mariposa Restoration Project, which supports immigrants detained in Florence and Eloy, Arizona. “I support immigrants through visits, sending letters, contacting relatives, seeking legal aid, looking for alternatives to detention, raising awareness, and fighting to put an end to detention.”

Today, Galdino’s spirit and dignity remain strong as he looks to the future. “For years I was a prisoner, and now to be free to fight for those who are still detained is a dream,” said Galdino. “The knowledge that I acquire from DWN will greatly benefit my community.”


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