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Lost in Detention: President Obama’s Tough Immigration Enforcement

By Jim Carey

Last week, Harvest of Empire looked at how US economic and military interests caused much of the unprecedented waves of migration from Latin America that transformed our nation’s cultural and economic landscape. Monday we will look at what happens to the millions of undocumented immigrants who are detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE].

Occupy San Miguel presents: PBS’ Lost in Detention: President Obama’s Tough Immigration Enforcement
Mon, Jun 30, 1pm
TV room
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Loreto 15

At the heart of the get-tough immigration policy is a vast network of 250 detention centers, from county jails to large centers run by private prison companies. In the past decade, over three million immigrants have been detained in the system. Daily an estimated 32,000 people are held in these crowded detention facilities until their hearings and likely deportations. Individuals are abused and are not even entitled to the same legal rights and representation as men and women in the US prison system

The vast majority of detainees — 77 percent — have no criminal record. ICE looks upon them as “collateral damage” from the net that catches the 23 percent who are criminals.

Sheriff Mark Curran of Lake County, Illinois describes the problem: “When I deal with the Latino community throughout Lake County, there’s fear that’s running through these communities. They know all about ‘Secure Communities’ and the horror stories of how their uncle, aunt or their brother committed the most ticky-tack of offenses, got incarcerated as a result, and is now being deported…Secure Communities is alienating the Latino communities.

Law enforcement works best when it’s engaged with the community. To have the community not working with you— it’s a frightening proposition…

We’re talking about people who have been here for 20 years and who have five children who are US citizens, and who came here under this message, “Don’t worry about it. You can get into this country. Don’t worry about it. You can work and nobody’s ever going to ask about it.” And now we’re going to deport them…

When you take a father out of the house and you deport him or a mother out of the house and you deport her and you leave those children now without one of the two spouses, to me that’s not a good recipe for the future of America. And it makes us a lesser country.”

The film is free and will be followed by a discussion.


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