United States’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied the release of Amos Yee on Thursday (Feb 2), and instead will be holding him in a detention centre before the US court delivers their judgment on his asylum application.
According to former Malaysian blogger Alvin Tan who was previously detained in US while he sought for asylum, the detention is a standard process for all asylum seekers. In August 2014, Alvin Tan went missing after he left Singapore for Mexico and walk to the US border stating his intention to seek asylum from US.
Alvin Tan recounted that he was detained for 3 months but the treatment surpassed the Malaysian jail treatment he received many folds. According to Alvin Tan, the prison warden addressed him as sir and he was given the freedom to exercise and mingle with the inmates who are also asylum seekers themselves. Alvin Tan commented that this detention is for the protection of the asylum seekers until their visa status could be determined.
The Singapore-controlled media however painted another picture, claiming that Amos Yee would have served 80 days in “jail” as compared to the 6-weeks he received by the Singapore government for “wounding religious feelings”.