Monday, while waiting for a decision at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the deportation case (threat) involving my young friends, Monica and Jose, I listened as they recounted their horrifying experience four years earlier. The two first cousins (their fathers are twins) remembered everything about being taken into custody by ICE officers while attending an end of school party at a farm outside Greenville, Texas.
They were hurried back to Dallas on that Friday afternoon, and before anyone knew what was going on, ICE transported them to a private, for-profit facility, Rolling Plains Regional Jail in Haskell, Texas. I knew all about this experience, or so I thought.
Let's be clear. Entering the US and remaining without proper documentation is a civil law violation, not a criminal act. Still, Monica told me how her captors roughed her up, tried to intimidate her into signing papers she didn't understand, and even handcuffing her very harshly so that they hurt her arms. They lied about how the two family members would be separated and about how her cousin, Jose, had signed the papers in question, also an untruth.
In short, the two then high school students were handled harshly, inappropriately and unjustly.
I asked their attorney why would a person in violation of civil law be handcuffed and treated like this. She told me ICE claims that people like Monica "pose a threat to the safety of the US."
Are kidding me?
So, when ICE "tickets" (that's what they do) business owners who employ undocumented workers, why don't they 'cuff them? Why not haul them off to an incarceration facility over 200 miles away? If it's good for the kids, why not the adults?
And what about bail? Our young friends had to put up a $50,000 bond in cash to get out of that Haskell jail. They were able to come up with it thanks to one of our board members who's stuck with them all the way.
What are expected standards of treatment for young people brought to the US by their parents as small children?
How is jail time even possible?
Surely not here.
No, sadly, yes, here.
We're studying the matter. Stay tuned.
We think we can change the policy back of this kind of behavior.
Part of the process is to simply inform rational, fair-minded people. You are out there, right?
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Rising from Ashes
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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