Illegal Immigrants Are People

Detention Should Not Be A Death Sentence

I don’t hate America, I don’t blame America first. I do think that if the government gets to cover up its own crimes, the crimes of its employees and negligence of companies contracted to perform services historically run directly by the government, then it has too much power over the people for whom it is charged with serving and protecting. It is supposed to be our government and not the government of the governors and their executors. I am also firmly of the opinion, that if the “world is my country, and to do good is my religion,” then the protected and served are also people who are not citizens nor legal residents. Anyone here, in the “Greatest Country in the World™” should be treated as a human being, a person with the rights granted by their Creator.  I don’t think that anywhere in the founding documents that I have read is there a case for American exceptionalism in the discussion of rights.

If a person is detained for suspicion of a crime, they are still entitled to the right to proper medical care.  Detention should not, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered the granting of the right to government to consider a person discarded.  Under detention, a person may or may not have even been granted the right of trial to determine guilt or innocence. There is supposed to be a presumption of innocence in all cases:

  1. With respect to the critical facts of the case – whether the crime charged was committed and whether the defendant was the person who committed the crime – the state has the entire burden of proof.
  2. With respect to the critical facts of the case, the defendant does not have any burden of proof whatsoever. The defendant does not have to testify, call witnesses or present any other evidence, and if the defendant elects not to testify or present evidence, this decision cannot be used against them.
  3. The jury or judge is not to draw any negative inferences from the fact the defendant has been charged with a crime and is present in court and represented by an attorney. They must decide the case solely on evidence presented during the trial.

I’ve got news. A guard at an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement,) facility is not a judge nor a jury and although he or she needs to have a certain level of authority to maintain order for the protection of both the detainees and officials inside, that authority does not include denial of medical care.

The New York Times has run a few stories on detention facilities run by the Department of Fatherland Homeland Security, and while the jury is still out on whether I am Canadian or USIcan, I am concerned that the government officials are not being independently investigated and punished where appropriate. I need some “Change I can believe in” here, and one of the things that is scary and needs to be changed is the concept that all people are our enemies until proven to be our friends, especially those who have broken some sort of immigration laws.

Hurdles Shown in Detention Reform:

Another death there soon spurred another inquiry, and another scathing report was issued about the care provided by the private company, the Corrections Corporation of America.

But the government scrutiny did not add up to much for Felix Franklin Rodriguez-Torres, 36, an Ecuadorean construction worker who wound up in Eloy that fall as an unauthorized immigrant after being jailed for petty larceny in New York City. By mid-December, a fellow detainee told the man’s relatives, Mr. Rodriguez lay pleading for medical help on the floor of his cell, unable to move.

He died weeks later of testicular cancer, a typically fast-growing but treatable disease, which had gone undiagnosed and untreated during his two months at Eloy, which holds more than 1,500 detainees. And despite a high-level discussion of his case among federal immigration officials while he was dying — captured in e-mail messages between Washington and Arizona — his death on Jan. 18, 2007, was not listed on the roster of detention fatalities that the agency produced under pressure last year and updated in April.

His death, and the damning reports that preceded it, are coming to light now only through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. On Monday, after inquiries about Mr. Rodriguez’s death by The New York Times, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency added his name and nine others to the public roster — including another unrecorded detainee death at Eloy, in 2005.

Yes, I know that private enterprise is supposed to be more efficient that government.  What happens if the needs of the payer and the needs of the customers are at odds?  The needs of the payer are given first priority, and if the government says do it cheap then costs will be cut at the expense of lives.

Officials Obscured Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail

The Obama administration has vowed to overhaul immigration detention, a haphazard network of privately run jails, federal centers and county cells where the government holds noncitizens while it tries to deport them.

But as the administration moves to increase oversight within the agency, the documents show how officials — some still in key positions — used their role as overseers to cover up evidence of mistreatment, deflect scrutiny by the news media or prepare exculpatory public statements after gathering facts that pointed to substandard care or abuse.

As one man lay dying of head injuries suffered in a New Jersey immigration jail in 2007, for example, a spokesman for the federal agency told The Times that he could learn nothing about the case from government authorities. In fact, the records show, the spokesman had alerted those officials to the reporter’s inquiry, and they conferred at length about sending the man back to Africa to avoid embarrassing publicity.

Because not embarrassing the agency is more important than preventing such deaths from recurring.

There’s more.  I would like those concerned with the “sanctity of human life” to concentrate on these cases with the sort of fervor they use to punish women for getting pregnant.  Of course, a fetus is a naturalized citizen by conception and more important than someone who is here illegally.


2 Responses to “Illegal Immigrants Are People”

  1. 1 Carl McGinnis
    January 17, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    We all make mistakes, but the biggest mistake we can make is to not recognize our errors and fix them. Janet has made many mistakes and as thousands of news articles prove that Homeland Security and Ice is a corrupt system and have been given the authority to act, kill, detain and at there own admission ” make anyone disappear” with there secret detention centers and seemingly unlimited budget to do these illegal acts. And we Americans are paying the bill for the corruption. I see the abuse every week and have finally realized the responsibility I have as an American to let as many people as possible know. Here is another story of Janet’s mistakes she and her army of ICE refuse to own and fix.
    This comes from Carl McGinnis, a citizen of the United States, who has seen the horrors of immigrant detention after ICE detained his legal immigrant friend. He tells us that it is not just about undocumented immigrants but even people who follow the rules get burned in our archaic and inhumane immigration system].
    I am a citizen of the United States and I have a friend that is from Paris, France here on a student visa with a double Masters Degree and working on his PhD in International Finance. He has been here since 2005. His visa is valid until March of 2010, his passport is valid until 2014, and his I-20 is current. He is not what people call an ‘illegal immigrant.’ In 2007, he fell in love and in Dec. 2008 married a U.S. citizen that just happens to be addicted to prescription medications. He knew nothing about this. But he was arrested due to her mistakes. The reality is that his American wife was taking advantage of him and when his money was gone so was she. Janet Napolitano just wants to deport him rather than correct the problem, and make the American accountable. This is wrong. We should have some sort of protection built into the system. Judge Rex Ford would not listen to reason without the wife in court and all witnesses were not given time to testify. This is not what I thought American Justice was all about. I was wrong. It is all a game our Government plays with our lives.
    He was placed in detention and scheduled for deportation. He has been in the detention center in Pompano Beach Florida for 6 months now. This couple has lost all there savings on lawyers, she lost her job, and they are in the process of losing their home. All this was caused because ICE has the wrong person in jail.
    I have written many letters to Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Ginny Brown-Waite and even President Obama. But no one will listen. What is illegal in this case is the way DHS is treating this guy, who is 51 and has never had a traffic violation. While in the detention center, He has been beaten by another inmate and suffered cracked ribs and bruised body, denied him food and proper medical treatment. He is diabetic and they will not give him the proper food or medical attention. The phone system is very poor and hardly works. I suspect that they plan it that way so the detainees cannot contact their lawyers and family. I fear he will be next on the long list of persons that have died while in detention. I beg for someone to go and listen to his story. They do not allow any form of media in because they don’t want anyone to know what they are doing.
    Until you go to one of these detention centers and see with your own eyes, you will not believe what America is doing. I was shocked, on my first visit and after almost 6 months of seeing what happens and how they have to live, I am still in shock. It is all about the money. My friend has never cost America anything until they locked him up. He is in a private prison owned by a company called GEO based near Miami, Florida. They are paid very well by our tax dollars, but the treatment is unbelievable. I wonder how many politicians have stock in this company. They are doing quite well even in a bad economy.
    Six months ago I had no idea that we treated immigrants in this way, especially when they are here legally and have done nothing wrong. I knew nothing about ICE and how they operate illegally. I was under the impression that DHS was here only to protect us from terrorists. And I had no idea of the millions of our tax dollars were being wasted to imprison people that could be out of detention and have their family support them until a decision is made in immigration court. I do not understand why we have to pay our hard earned tax dollars to house and feed persons that are not dangerous.
    When they have to lock up a man who has done nothing wrong, make him spend thousands in fees, ICE is giving way too much importance to them selves. How can we turn such educated people away simply to boost the ego of ICE officers and add another number to the Janet Napolitano deportation list, so that the Obama Administration can look like it is doing its job of ‘cracking down on criminals?’
    Something has to change soon. I feel it is my duty as an American to let as many people as possible know the truth. I visit the detention center every Saturday and spend the rest of the week writing letters. This New Year, lets do something worthwhile. Let’s go back to protecting the country rather than making up stories to justify the expansion of a national security complex. Let’s end businesses profiting from immigrant detention and restore our image as a nation of immigrants.

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