De­por­ta­tion a Death Sen­tence?

The Signal - - Opinion -

Ade­lanto De­ten­tion Cen­ter Visit – Women’s Fa­cil­ity, Nov. 27: Check-in pro­ce­dure (show driver’s li­cense, name and alien num­ber of the per­son I will be talk­ing with, ob­tain key to a locker where ev­ery­thing I have with me is stored dur­ing the visit, go through the metal de­tec­tor, through two locked doors in the hall­way, and then into the meet­ing room.) So be­gins the visit.

The woman from Rus­sia who I planned to visit for the sec­ond time was ex­pect­ing a visit from fam­ily, and de­tainees (pris­on­ers) are only al­lowed one visit per day, so I met with a woman from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo. I will call her Jane. The fo­cus of our conversation was her sit­u­a­tion with the at­tor­ney who was (sup­pos­edly) work­ing for her release. Her fam­ily man­aged to raise $7,000 for Jane’s bond, but the re­quest was de­nied and she has been un­able to find out why, or what the next step should be, es­pe­cially since the fam­ily can­not pro­vide any more money. My un­der­stand­ing is de­tainees have the op­tion of de­por­ta­tion but many can­not re­turn to their coun­try of ori­gin for nu­mer­ous rea­sons.

Jane and I talked about what her next step would be since her at­tor­ney was not re­spond­ing to her re­quest for her file. Not be­ing an at­tor­ney, I was no help with this one. Jane was wear­ing red prison garb, which means there was some type of crime com­mit­ted. The crime was do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. She was ar­rested. Her hus­band was not. In­ter­est­ing that Jane knew Anita, the woman I met dur­ing my first visit.

My next meet­ing was with a woman from Mex­ico – I will call her Su­san. Mother of five sons, Su­san was liv­ing on the street when de­tained. Her hus­band is also home­less, one son is in prison and one is at­tend­ing Yale. If I un­der­stood cor­rectly, the younger ones are in the child pro­tec­tion sys­tem. Jane and I were sit­ting just be­low the raised plat­form where the guard sits, so the three of us ended up talk­ing. Su­san has lim­ited English (though much bet­ter than my lim­ited Span­ish). She was de­scrib­ing her chal­lenge of over­com­ing al­co­holism and the dam­age to her body, but was not fa­mil­iar with the word “liver.” The guard used her fingers to spell out the word, since just say­ing it didn’t work out. Su­san lived in the U.S. with­out papers for 30 years so she doesn’t wish to be de­ported to a coun­try where she hasn’t lived for most of her adult life. No one in her fam­ily has suf­fi­cient funds to pay for their mother’s bond, so it looks like she’ll be in the cen­ter un­til some kind of mir­a­cle pro­duces a pro-bono at­tor­ney to help her.

I un­der­stand many peo­ple be­lieve that any­one in the U.S. il­le­gally should be de­ported. If de­por­ta­tion means death, per­haps a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing will take place and a so­lu­tion to this sit­u­a­tion of de­tain­ing (im­pris­on­ing) thou­sands of peo­ple at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense, mak­ing “for profit” cen­ters wealthy, will end.

Please check out Im­mi­gra­tion Sys­tems 101 on the internet for de­tails on De­ten­tion Cen­ters.

Karla H. Ed­wards

Va­len­cia

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