March 4, 2020 at 3:58 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Blade contributor wins asylum case, released from ICE custody
Yariel Valdés González speaks to Washington Blade International News Editor Michael K. Lavers from Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La., on Dec. 5, 2019 (Washington Blade screenshot by Michael K. Lavers)

FERRIDAY, La. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday released from its custody a Washington Blade contributor from Cuba who won asylum in the U.S.

The Board of Immigration Appeals, which is overseen by the Department of Justice, on Feb. 28 dismissed an appeal of Judge Timothy Cole’s ruling that granted Yariel Valdés González asylum last September.

Valdés on Monday read the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to the Blade during a telephone call from River Correctional Center, the privately-run ICE detention center in Ferriday, La., at which he had been detained since January. Valdés left the facility with this reporter.

Valdés, 29, entered the U.S. on March 27, 2019, through the Calexico West Port of Entry between California’s Imperial Valley and Mexicali, Mexico. He asked for asylum based on the persecution he suffered in Cuba because he is a journalist.

ICE transferred Valdés from California to the Tallahatchee County Correctional Facility, a privately-run ICE detention center in Tutwiler, Miss. Valdés was held at the Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La., for roughly eight months before ICE transferred him to the River Correctional Center.

This reporter visited Valdés on Feb. 1.

The Blade will update this story.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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