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Life in California’s largest immigration detention center

News 01 May 2017

left right An ICE detainee rests his hands on the window of his cell in the segregation wing at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 1/28 left right ICE detainees are seen at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 2/28 left right The women's medical room is seen at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 3/28 left right A woman lies on a bed in a dormitory at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 4/28 left right Women stand in a dormitory at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 5/28 left right An ICE detainee lies in his cell in the segregation wing at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 6/28 left right An immigrant takes food into a cell for incoming ICE detainees at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 7/28 left right ICE detainee possessions are seen in the intake area at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 8/28 left right Handcuffs for employees to use are seen at the entrance of the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 9/28 left right Salvadoran immigrant Roberto Galan, 33, poses for a photo at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 10/28 left right Possessions lie on a bed in a women's dormitory at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 11/28 left right Immigrants sit in a cell for incoming ICE detainees at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 12/28 left right David A. Marin, Field Office Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations, stands at the entrance to the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 13/28 left right The high-risk detainee visiting area is seen at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 14/28 left right A communal area is seen at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 15/28 left right A girl waits with visitors in the lobby of the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 16/28 left right A world map is seen on the wall of the visiting area at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 17/28 left right A woman lies on a bed in a dormitory at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 18/28 left right ICE detainees make phone calls at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 19/28 left right An ICE detainee draws roses on a birthday card at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 20/28 left right ICE detainees walk into the dining area for lunch at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 21/28 left right A razor wire fence surrounds the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 22/28 left right Detainees exercise in a recreation area at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 23/28 left right Female detainees read about a hunger strike at the Tacoma immigration detention center as they sit in a dormitory at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 24/28 left right Men play dominoes at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 25/28 left right Men share a pair of headphones to watch television in a dormitory at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 26/28 left right A meal is seen in a cell for incoming ICE detainees at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 27/28 left right Detainees exercise in a recreation area at the Adelanto immigration detention center, which is run by the Geo Group Inc (GEO.N), in Adelanto, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH 28/28 By Lucy Nicholson | ADELANTO, California

ADELANTO, California Roberto Galan, 33, paid a trafficker $3,000 to smuggle him into the United States from El Salvador for the first time as a teenager in 1997.

Since then, he has been deported twice but has returned each time.

Now he is once again in deportation proceedings, being held at the Adelanto Detention Facility near San Bernardino, California, along with more than 1,800 other immigrants awaiting hearings or deportation after being arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Galan, who has convictions in California for selling marijuana and possession of a firearm, wears a red outfit at Adelanto, showing he is a "high risk" detainee, one who has committed a serious offense and spent time in state or federal prison. Others wear blue, signifying they have no criminal convictions or very minor misdemeanors on their record, or orange, which denotes a more serious crime but not a felony.

"I don't want them to deport me … I want to stay in the United States with my family," Galan said at the center where he has been in custody for 20 months. Galan's mother, wife and two young children live in the United States legally.

"They feel bad because we want to live together."

Galan expects a decision on his latest appeal this month.

"I see people trying to stay here, fight their case for two, three, four years, more than four years, and then (they are) denied everything," he said of the center, the largest immigration detention facility in the state.

After taking office in January, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on border security that, among other measures, called for promptly deporting illegal immigrants after their apprehension, and keeping them in custody until that can be arranged.

A razor wire fence rings Adelanto, which is run by Geo Group Inc, a Florida-based company that owns, leases and manages correctional and detention facilities.

At the facility, some of the detainees could be seen chatting over meals of rice and refried beans, while others sat alone in silence. Two men shared a pair of headphones to watch television, and others played dominoes.

About 240 of the detainees at Adelanto are women. In their dormitory, one curled up on a bed reading a novel while another folded clothes. Two of the women read news reports about a hunger strike at an immigration center in Tacoma, Washington, 1,000 miles to the north.

Adelanto detainees have access to an on-site law library, a medical clinic, religious services, and a recreation area where they can play soccer and basketball. In the center's visiting area, a large world map hangs on a wall.

The detention facility also has six courtrooms where federal immigration judges conduct removal hearings in person or by video link.

David Marin, a senior ICE official based in Los Angeles, said little had changed in day-to-day operations at Adelanto since Trump took office.

"There have not been any major changes since the change in administration," Marin said. "We are still focusing on arresting criminal aliens. That's our commitment to public safety."

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(Reporting by Lucy Nicholson; Writing by Daniel Wallis)

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