Inside the Immigration ‘Icebox’

By Aura Bogado Jul 11, 2014

The Obama administration has asked Congress for nearly $4 billion to deal with the influx of unaccompanied Central American children making their way into the United States. He aims to increase border enforcement, increase detention center capacity and hire immigration judges to expedite their removal. But before migrant children are placed in detention, they’re processed in holding facilities. It is here that many complain of what they call hieleras, or iceboxes–rooms so cold, they feel like they’re freezing. Customs and Border Protection denies the use of hieleras. But according to lawsuits, they’re too often the norm. Colorlines spoke with one migrant from Honduras, Mayeli Hernández. Along with her 8-year-old sister, she crossed into the United States last year when she was just 11 years old. Here, she talks about what her experience in the hielera was like.