Migrant Detention

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Over the past decade, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has accelerated its detention of lawful permanent residents, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. Many of these detainees wait for months-- or even years-- without a hearing. Larry Cox is Executive Director of Amnesty International. He’ll be joined by Hector Veloz, a U.S. citizen who was held in migrant detention for 13 months, even after he produced documentation proving his citizenship.


Larry Cox and Hector Veloz

Comments [17]

DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

The problem with regard to U.S. citizens
being detained by US Immigration officials,
should be investigated and corrected.
What happened to Mr. Veloz was wrong.

However, the U.S. has a right to protect
its citizens by preventing entry of illegal
aliens, regardless of the reason, from
entering U.S. territory.

We have had one 9/11, we don't need another.

Anyone that enters the U.S. illegally for
whatever reason should be detained and
if they have objections to that,
offered a ticket back to their home country.

Apr. 01 2009 03:29 PM
JP from Garden State

Have you been to Mexico lately? There is no middle class and there are no jobs and corruption on every level rules the day. If I lived their and I had to support my family or even just myself, I’d have 2 choices. Run drugs and illegally cut wood or illegality cross over to America. I’d choose America in a heart beat. That being said, if you really want to get rid of illegal migrants you have 2 choices. Clean up the Mexican government (a near impossible task) so an actual middle class can be created in Mexico or start arresting companies and people who hire illegal immigrants. Yes that includes your rich cheap neighbor with the illegal nanny all the way up to the fortune 500 companies that have illegal’s working for nothing out back on the loading docks. You can build 1000 foot high wall and people will still find a way to cross the boarder. But if there’s no easy jobs to find because business owners are afraid to take the risk of hiring illegal immigrants, no reason for Mexicans to take the very dangerous risk of entering US illegally .

Apr. 01 2009 02:33 PM
Mike from Inwood

Suzanne [9]: I was born in Buffalo and regularly cross the border at Plattsburgh, NY. I am a white male. Whenever I've seen ICE agents question people, the majority of people they have questioned have been white, so much so that I think they're trying to make a show of how unbiased they are. I've never seen them question only people of color, but I have seen them question only white people.

Apr. 01 2009 02:05 PM
CC from NYC

Legal Aid has an immigration law division that exclusively deals with these cases also.

Apr. 01 2009 01:59 PM
Mike from Inwood

My sympathies to Hector Veloz. The legal situation regarding detention of suspected illegals certainly needs to be changed.

Larry Cox may consider himself to be an immigrant, but I am not. Neither were my parents nor my grandparents. I don't care what it says on the base of the Statue of Liberty, which was originally intended to adorn the Suez Canal, but was regifted to us when the French lost the territory.

Apr. 01 2009 01:59 PM

organizations providing pro bono help on immigration matters include:

legal services nyc
legal aid
catholic charities
bronx defenders
immigration clinics at law schools
CLINIC (catholic legal....)

Apr. 01 2009 01:57 PM

But isn't the issue that the Mexicans want to extend the border up?

Apr. 01 2009 01:53 PM

Here is the story:

ICE locks 'em up, throws away key: immigration becomes a human rights scandal

Here are key points:

>>>Veloz's father is a U.S. citizen, a Vietnam vet who was awarded a Purple Heart. His mother is an immigrant from Mexico. The couple met in the U.S., but when his father was shipped out to the war, his expectant mother returned to Mexico for support, where Veloz was born.

She came back to the U.S. with the 4-month-old Hector, and he grew up in California living at home with both parents. <<<

>>>Hector Veloz was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after serving a six-month-jail sentence for receiving stolen property. Released on parole, Veloz was picked up by ICE the day of his release and flown straight to the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, where he remained from June 2007 to July 2008. <<<

>>>ICE said Veloz had entered the country illegally. Veloz appealed and finally was released. <<<<

Apr. 01 2009 01:52 PM
Suzanne from New York

Two friends of mine were pulled out of line at the Buffalo airport in January. Not accidentally, they were the only non-white people in line. One of them, a green-card holder, was let go; the other, on a student visa, was arrested on the spot. He was held in a detention center for 2 months, with no access to a lawyer, and eventually deported. While in detention, he had no access to books (he had been hoping to continue studying) or even pen and paper. The lights were on 24 hours a day.
We don't accept racial profiling by our police officers; yet it is common practice of US border patrol and ICE. We treat prisoners better than detainees.
What has happened to our values as Americans to afford rights to citizens but not to immigrants? Have were forgotten that all of our ancestors were all once immigrants?

Apr. 01 2009 01:51 PM

A few million immigrants each with 50-350k under their mattresses, after having done all those "jobs that real americans won't do", probably wouldn't be too bad for the housing market right now.

Bush was right about that.

Apr. 01 2009 01:51 PM
NABNYC from Southern California

As for the whole anchor-baby concept, that anyone born here is a citizen, its current use is a gross distortion of the original purpose.

After the Civil War, when the slaves were freed, southern states immediately began instituting a series of laws (remember Jim Crow) to deny black people all the basic rights of citizenship. The southern states justified their laws by the reasoning that the black people may not be slaves, but that does not necessarily mean they are citizens.

The constitution was amended to provide that anyone born inside the U.S. was a citizen. This was done to confirm that by freeing the slaves, it was the intent of the nation to grant to them the full rights of citizenship.

Certainly this amendment to guarantee the rights of black citizens was never intended to create a loophole by which people from other countries could come here in bad faith, with the intent to violate the laws, have a baby, and thereby gain citizenship for the baby and the entire family that may follow. It is a sorry mis-use of our laws, and should be corrected by Congress. Any baby born here of parents who are not legally here should have the citizenship of the mother. Exactly the way it is in other countries.

Apr. 01 2009 01:46 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Have we learned exactly what the circumstances were when the guest was deteained and arrested?
Leonard could you ask them?

Apr. 01 2009 01:44 PM
NABNYC from Southern California

All the land on earth is divided into what we call nations. Each person is a citizen of one nation, generally because they were born there, and by international agreement cannot be expelled from the country of their birth. But the flip side of that is that each nation is also entitled to prevent citizens from other countries from entering, moving in, taking jobs, attending schools, using the services provided only for the citizens of that country. This is the basic pact, and it makes sense.

Hard facts made bad law. It is awful if a citizen was held without cause, but that does not mean that all illegal immigrants who are detained should be allowed to leave based on a promise to return for a hearing. They're not stupid, and they won't return if they are here illegally.

The entire process should take days. Someone is apprehended and held. They are allowed phone calls, assistance to locate any papers which give them the legal right to be here. If they don't have those papers, deport them. the fact that they have children here is irrelevant: they should take the kids with them when they are deported.

Apr. 01 2009 01:42 PM

This is because of our open border. If we can stem the tide we can handle these cases better. I bet you immigration is overwhelmed with all of these illegals flooding into the country.

Apr. 01 2009 01:41 PM

Our wealthiest neighbor was held on a technicality after creating several businesses employing local people -- legally -- and buying/operating more than a dozen properties. He grew up in this town and his kids, friends of ours, were born here. The judge allowed his wife and kids to continue living here while his case was on appeal. The judge was basically just waiting for a national policy change. After a year in JAIL (this is a well polished businessman full of energy) they moved back to Ecuador. He started new businesses and they live like kings there, maids, drivers, etc.. BUT he is just waiting for rules to change so that he might be able to return to his middle class life here. He would move back to NJ in a second, he says.

How many of YOU would do that?

Apr. 01 2009 01:37 PM
J.C. from Minneapolis

This is shameful. How hard is it to prove citizenship? All ICE has to do is to go look up the birth certificate or naturalization record.

Maybe some of these incompetent ICE officials should themselves be thrown in jail for contempt of court for basically lying to the court about someone's citizenship.

Apr. 01 2009 01:36 PM

Would building a security wall between U.S. and Mexico make it easier to weed out the citizens, legal immigrants and illegals in this country. I am thinking that it can be 50-100 feet high. That should keep most of them out. At least you can stem the tied coming in.

Apr. 01 2009 12:24 PM

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