ICE. Keeps Secrecy Lid on Detention of Thousands of Immigrants
For immigrants in the United States, getting sucked into the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) system of detention means being cut off from the outside world and not knowing when they will be released.
Or if they will make it out alive.
Some detained immigrants who have no criminal records can spend weeks, if not months or years, in jails with no access to due process and sometimes little opportunity to communicate with relatives or others trying to help them.
Those being detained by ICE are officially unknown, because the agency’s policy is to not release the names of detainees. Immigration officials claim this is done to protect immigrants’ privacy.
The system is dangerously flawed, however. Case in point: Irene Bamenga.
Bamenga, a French immigrant, attempted to return to France after overstaying her visa. She was arrested at the Canadian border and thrown into one ICE detention center after another. What made Bamenga’s situation even more disturbing was her heart condition, which required medication.
She never received a court hearing or a chance to plead for medical treatment. As her detention stretched into nearly two weeks, her health began to fail, until she was found dead in her cell.
While many thousands of like Bamenga vanish into the black hole of ICE detention centers, 8,500 criminals—including 201 murderers—were released by ICE into U.S. cities during the past four years because their native countries refused to accept them back.
To Learn More:
Out of Sight, Detainees Struggle to be Heard (by Milton J. Valencia and Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe)
Unwanted at Home, Free to Strike Again (by Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe)
Increasing Cases of U.S. Citizens Detained as Illegal Immigrants (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff)
Does the U.S. Have Secret Immigrant Detention Centers? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Immigrant Granted Hearing after Five and Half Years Detention (by Jacquelyn Lickness, AllGov)
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