Migrant Detention: August 2008 Archives

A Call For Help

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Many of us get an extra day off to celebrate labor day. Sadly though the injustices against workers around the world continue.  Even within these United States we see working people being arrested for simply seeking employment and working hard. 

While ICE claims to be heavily involved in the "war on terror" they're really only involved in creating terror.  The only "war on terror" I see needing to take place is the one that changes the abhorrent policies of ICE.  (As if being arrested and detained is not enough of a Labor Day present for hard working people please read about the gift to farm workers this Labor Day in A Labor Day Attack on Farmworkers.)

Just last Monday as the Democratic Convention was getting underway the largest immigration raid ever took place.  595 people were arrested.  This post is a call for help.  

Please ad any information you have to the comments section of this post.  

PLEASE SEND THE FOLLOWING ITEMS OR MONETARY DONATIONS TO: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Father Ken Ramon-Landry
313 Walnut St
Hattiesburg, MS. 39401
Nina Bernstein of the New York Times reports.  It appears the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, R.I., has made a habit of accusing migrants they are faking back pains.

The lawsuit, filed in Providence, asserts that employees at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, R.I., denied a wheelchair to Marino De Los Santos, who said that he suffered serious injuries to his neck, back, chest and spine in two falls at the center in 2006. According to the suit, employees accused Mr. De Los Santos of faking his injuries and refused to take him to scheduled examinations by a spine specialist.
Nina Bernstein - New York Times (19 August 2008)
There is more from Scott Fontaine at the Tacoma News Tribune on the story of the US citizen locked up for seven months in immigration prison and nearly deported due to standard government circumvention of due process.  Notice the contempt with which all the key decisionmakers in the process treated Castillo.

Still, the posture of the article and the reason this is a news item is not that a human being was treated so poorly.  It's that this happened to a U.S. citizen.  The problems that this article uncovers--the failure of the system to obtain accurate results, the inability of many migrants to navigate a complex process--exist for non-citizens as well.  These problems didn't arise by accident.  They have been built into the system to allow the government to imprison and deport more migrants for political gain.

And the idea that the issuance of two "A numbers" for a single individual is a bizarre glitch is just not true.  It happens All. The. Time. 

SCOTT FONTAINE; Published: August 19th, 2008 01:00 AM | Updated: August 19th, 2008 10:33 AM

Rennison Castillo broke the law. He was punished for it. And he thought he had served his time. Instead, the last day of an eight-month jail sentence was the start of a seven-month nightmare that almost ended two years ago with Castillo - a Lakewood resident, Army veteran and American citizen - deported to Belize, a country he left as a child.


He spoke publicly about the incident for the first time earlier this month.

Immigration officials say his case was a rare mistake and that it has prompted closer scrutiny of citizenship claims. But advocates say it's the kind of mix-up that's bound to happen as the federal government aggressively moves to deport more criminal immigrants while limiting their access to the legal system.

The following is an op-ed I wrote for New America Media that contrast the hypocrisy of George W. Bush deriding China for human rights violations, while a Chinese migrant dies in Bush's own detention centers.

What Have We Become? - Medical Neglect in Immigrant Prisons Reveals America at Its Worst

New America Media, Commentary, Kyle de Beausset, Posted: Aug 17, 2008

BOSTON -- On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, while Bush was preparing to express his "deep concerns" over China's human rights record, Chinese immigrant Hiu Lui Ng was dying in the custody of our great nation's own U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. For months, according to the New York Times, 33-year-old Mr. Ng had complained of excruciating back pain. Officials accused him of faking it.

When a judge finally ordered that Mr. Ng be brought to a hospital, it was discovered that he had a fractured spine, cancer all over his body, and very little time to live. He died five days later, leaving behind a wife and two young sons.

Bob Edwards' Weekend: Two kinds of border patrol

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This week's edition of Bob Edwards' Weekend on public radio (and XM) is a rebroadcast of a 2006 show about immigration.  The first part is an interview with a border patrol agent and I didn't catch this part when I heard the broadcast over the weekend (ergo my initial post praising the program).  He does a pretty good job of dehumanizing people.  No explanation of who they are, the circumstances that led them to risk their lives to cross the border into the U.S.  Nothing.  They talk like people crossing the border are a plague of bugs that must be processed and controlled.  It'll give you chills.

Then I guess to balance out the show he interviews two Samaritans (that's the name of the group) who patrol the trails leaving out water and other essential supplies for migrants.  One's a doctor.  The other is a photographer.  This is the part of the show that's worth a listen.  The stories they tell of the people they meet out there, the brutal conditions they have to go through...

And unlike the border patrol agent interviewed, the Samaritan was able to put a human face, not only on the migrants but on the opposition as well, in this case, the border patrol agents.  He said he has an appreciation for the agents saying they're only enforcing laws they didn't make. and the laws they have to enforce determine the strategy they have to use.  He said he's met agents who agree with promigrant groups essentially saying, yeah "we're enforcing laws that are forcing people farther and farther out into the more dangerous places.."

He says he "knows from having spoken to a few of the [agents].... in the summer especially a lot of them consider their job as much rescue as arrest and they don't relish finding bodies out in the desert any more than the rest of us do.  They're human beings."

Then he tells a story of a woman and her two sons who got lost in the desert.  She fell ill and the coyote left her behind.  She died and her father spent weeks looking for his daughter's body.  He found three other bodies before he found hers.  This, and no one can tell me we live in a civilized country.  Not with people dying like cattle in the desert.

crimey, it's amazing that anyone could be so cold-hearted to have anything but immense compassion for people forced to migrate in these conditions.

Resources: 

No More Deaths

Humane Borders


Cross posted at Lucky White Girl

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Migrant Detention category from August 2008.

Migrant Detention: July 2008 is the previous archive.

Migrant Detention: September 2008 is the next archive.

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