Roberto Bladimir Peraza Tobar came to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2008 on an H2B visa for temporary, non-agricultural workers. He thought he was going to Louisiana to do reconstruction work, but found himself entangled in a cruel human trafficking scheme.
He spent his first four months in the U.S. crammed into various apartments – at times sharing a single apartment with up to 20 men – with limited access to food. He was forced to work for almost no pay.
He and several other men who were held under these conditions were able to escape with the help of a local resident. Following his escape, he met his wife and began to build a life for himself in the U.S. He worked diligently to support his wife and his baby daughter as their sole provider.
That ended, however, when he was arrested in early November 2017 in Georgia for a driving incident. He spent nine days in jail, and then he was transferred to the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold.
Roberto has suffered greatly in detention at ICDC. With limited funds on his phone account, he has found it nearly impossible to call his family. He was placed into solitary confinement “for his own safety” after another detained individual made threats to him about his wife. After spending more than three weeks in solitary confinement, he was released from segregation only after a staff person noticed that his nose was bleeding, and inquired about his health.
Roberto is terrified to return to El Salvador and devastated to be separated from his wife and infant daughter.