A Dutch man has been detained in a detention center of the American immigration service for over a month.
He crossed the border illegally from Mexico to attend a trial for the custody of his three young daughters, his sister told the
Dagblad van het Noorden on
According to his sister, Frank Vingerhoed is currently in poor conditions in the detention center in the Texan city of El Paso, near the border with Mexico.
"The food is bad, it is cold and he sleeps on a mattress with the light on."
Thimble first tried to enter the US from Mexico on a visa, but failed.
That is why he decided to walk through the desert on the night of 2 to 3 November.
The man swam across the Rio Grande, "nearly drowned" according to his sister.
He was arrested on the other side.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants from Mexico and South America venture the dangerous border crossing to the US.
Since 2014, nearly 2,500 migrants have been killed, the United Nations reports.
The Netherlands cannot do much
The Dutchman is currently being held as an "unwanted alien" in a so-called Service Processing Center of the American Immigration Service (ICE).
Authorities of the detention center have told the Emmen that no one can leave the center because of the corona virus, his sister says.
It is unclear whether he will be prosecuted or should leave the country.
His sister calls it a "hopeless situation".
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can currently do little for the man, a spokesman told the
Currently, prisoners in the United States are not allowed to receive visits due to the pandemic, including from embassy personnel.
"Where we can, we maintain contact by telephone, but because many detainees are kept in quarantine, unfortunately there is not always the opportunity to do so," said the spokesman.
Migrant camps run by the US Immigration Service are controversial.
Among other things, the camps are "dangerously overcrowded," a committee of the House of Representatives concluded last year.
The centers are regularly discredited for abuses, including poor conditions for children.
Man kidnapped children to the Netherlands
The man lived with his wife, from whom he has since divorced, in the US until 2019.
After his wife had cheated on him, he kidnapped his children (eleven, ten and five years old) and took them to Emmen.
After six months, the children were taken away from Vingerhoed by the police and flown back to the US.
Two children said they wanted to stay with him, but the judge did not agree, writes the