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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

TIMES DISCUSSES ISSUE OF DETAINEE DEATHS

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Regular readers of this blog know that I've tried to call attention to the spate of deaths of immigrants in detention facilities around the US. I was very, very pleased to see prominent New York Times reporter Nina Bernstein cover this serious issue and that the Times gave her story a prominent above the fold spot on yesterday's front page. Definitely read the piece.

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  1. hmm's Avatar
    So is the situation really different for US citizens? I really doubt they get quality medical care in state prisons and county jails, and their relatives get notified right away when they die. Unless the death statistics is different for immigrants and citizens, I do not see why talk about it in the context of immigration.

  2. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "I really doubt they get quality medical care in state prisons and county jails, and their relatives get notified right away when they die. "

    First, there is a difference between a detainee and a prisoner. Prisoners have committed crimes. Second, I am quite sure the deaths of prisoners are promptly reported (this is not GULAG, you know), and every death is at least looked into, if not investigated.
  3. hmm's Avatar
    "there is a difference between a detainee and a prisoner. Prisoners have committed crimes."

    Prisoners have been convicted of crimes. Surely there are many citizens in detention as well waiting for their trials, and anyway I see no reason the medical care standard should be any different.

    "I am quite sure the deaths of prisoners are promptly reported (this is not GULAG, you know), and every death is at least looked into, if not investigated."

    With all respect that you are "quite sure" does not convince me at all. A study by a pro would be more helpful, and this is essentially what I was asking: a link to a study indicating that the conditions in immigration detention are worse than in state/county detention.
  4. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "a link to a study indicating that the conditions in immigration detention are worse than in state/county detention. "

    People in immigration detention are not accused of any crimes (if they are - they are being transfered to state/federal jail). Why should people who have not committed any crimes be treated like or even worse than criminals?
  5. Dan's Avatar
    I surely hope this doesn't happen to any of us - immigrant or citizen alike....any inhumane treatment must be condemned and a single life is one too many....we cannot say, oh it's just one percent or so....one is too many!!!
  6. hmm's Avatar
    Oh, do not start this discussion that unauthorized immigrants committed no crime. Technically, an absolute majority of them can be accused of one of the following crimes: unlawful entry, failure to register for selective service, failure to report change of address. For example here is a quote for the last one (if you care, find the other two):

    INA Section 266(b) states "Any alien or any parent or legal guardian in the United States of any alien who fails to give written notice to the Attorney General, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not to exceed $200 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. Irrespective of whether an alien is convicted and punished as herein provided, any alien who fails to give written notice to the Attorney General, as required, shall be taken into custody and removed in the manner provided by chapter 4 of this title, unless such alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that such failure was reasonably excusable or was not willful." Willful failure to register is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 6 months and a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.

    Misdemeanor is a crime. In my state any moving violation is a misdemeanor. I personally think that speeding is less serious than overstaying on a visa, but still the law is there and apparently is occasionally used.
  7. Dan's Avatar
    Everyone must agree that killing a person for not reporting a change of address is very severe punishment and is an action above the law...

    Killing can be done by neglecting a medical condition of a detainee. I would say that is worse than failing to report change of address.

    One life is one too many. Do to people as you would do to your beloved pet.
  8. hmm's Avatar
    Did I say that I approve of inhumane conditions in detention centers? I merely suggested that perhaps this is not so much about immigrants. I have seen a man crying in a traffic court when he was sent to 6-month-term for repeated moving violations, the last of which was running a red light. Clearly jail is no fun, and lots of abuse happens there. There is no point to focus on immigrants in this regard, I think, unless one has hard data that immigrants suffer more than citizens. I merely asked for such data, if anyone has them please post a link.
  9. 's Avatar
    "I merely suggested that perhaps this is not so much about immigrants. "

    The difference is that man had an option not to commit traffic violations over and over. A Mexican roofer (or African taylor) has virtually zero chances of coming/staying legally. It's a huge difference.

    So, maybe it IS about being an immigrant.
  10. hmm's Avatar
    "A Mexican roofer (or African taylor) has virtually zero chances of coming/staying legally"

    With very few exception people do have options. In this case "a Mexican roofer or African taylor" had an option not to come here at all, or else come and return. I perfectly understand why they choose not to return, and I am not going to engage in any discussion on the matter.

    There are indeed detention issues specific to immigrants, but I do not feel inadequate medical care is one of them.

    In fact, there are data that the death rate in state prisons is lower than in the general population,see http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/mcdsp04pr.htm so maybe this problem is somewhat overblown.
  11. USC's Avatar
    Nelson Mandela still requires a terrorism waiver to visit the US:

    http://theboard.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/long-overdue-clearing-nelson-mandelas-record/?hp

    http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/05/01/mandela_still_on_us_terrorist_lists/4942/
  12. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "With very few exception people do have options."

    Name them, please. No, seriously. Assume someone does not have close US citizen relatives relatives, is married with no plans to divorce, does not have a college degree and comes from a country ineligible for the lottery (80% of Mexican workers will fall into that category). Now, explain to me, how they can immigrate legally.

    And please don't compare someone who has been given a chance after chance and blew them all to someone who's been given no chance, and tell it's the same. It's not.

    "I perfectly understand why they choose not to return, and I am not going to engage in any discussion on the matter. "

    You did not read the whole article, did you? The taylor was coming back from Africa, but his application was denied while he was out of the country - that's when they picked him up. You do not need to engage in any discussions, but I bet you will remember the story next time you approach immigration officer at the airport.
  13. Martha Stevens's Avatar
    To be honest, I did not read the whole article. The first page was enough. Why are we treating human beings like this. They are not even criminals. This is insane, many of these immigrants have made more of a contribution to society than US citizens. Americans let's show a little respect!

    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Martha Stevens

  14. hmm's Avatar
    "Now, explain to me, how they can immigrate legally."

    They cannot. Staying in the home country IS an option though. Incidentally, an absolute majority of world population lives in their home countries and do not come to US. Those who stay in the US illegally assume certain risks, such as a possibility of being sent to jail. No pain, no gain.

    "The taylor was coming back from Africa, but his application was denied while he was out of the country - that's when they picked him up. I bet you will remember the story next time you approach immigration officer at the airport."

    I have heard many other horror stories over the years. In particular, I traveled many times with pending AOS and the possibility that the application is denied while I travel did cross my mind. Actually I would still be able to enter being on H1B, but my wife would be stuck, and we had a plan B that she goes back and I try to sort out things here. The possibility of her going to jail never occured to us as a acceptable option. Likewise this taylor presumably did have an option to fly back (the airline would be required to bring him back since his entry papers were in order), and this is what my wife would do in his place. She would not choose go to jail, trust me. If the taylor was arrested at the border and not given the option to leave, then there must be more to the story.
  15. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    hmm, to sum up your argument - don't come or we will kill you for trying to make a living. You know, that's not much different from what Loony Dobbses of world are saying. Think about it.
  16. hmm's Avatar
    LNLW: this must be a clash of cultures: you do not seem to get my point and what you are saying makes no sense to me. I give up..
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