Yoel Alonso sat in a cell for 10 months before he ever met with a lawyer. His wife had to travel 1,000 miles to visit him at the remote Louisiana facility where he was detained.
Alonso is not imprisoned for committing a crime. In fact, he turned himself in to immigration officials last October, seeking asylum from Cuba. Since then, he has been detained in two rural facilities — first in Louisiana, and now in Adams County, Miss. — where he is faced with daunting legal hurdles. Chief among them: Alonso has met his lawyer only once in his nearly 11 months in federal custody.