Proud member of the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Etowah County Detention Center, another black eye coming to Alabama

Just a heads up - another black eye is headed Alabama's way. It seems that Alabama's only ICE detention center is excess prison space ICE rent's from Etowah County, Alabama. From an article titled:
Immigrant Detainees Languish in Notorious Etowah County Detention Center.

Here's how it starts:
The Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, houses immigration detainees along with county inmates. The facility, which on any given day houses over 300 immigrants, is notorious for poor conditions. It is hours away from any immigration court or international airport , despite only housing people who have final orders of removal from the United States. Many of the detainees have been held here for months, if not years.

Etowah should be closed for two reasons. First, the facility is inappropriate for civil detention. It is a high security jail designed to hold dangerous criminals serving their jail sentences, not for civil offenders awaiting removal from the United States. Second, many of the detainees held at this facility cannot be removed from the United States, despite having been ordered removed, since they are victims of torture or persecution, or because the U.S. does not have an extradition agreement with the home country. The federal government should not ask taxpayers to foot the bill for this inhumane and unnecessary detention.
And things go downhill from there. Turns out that there was some talk of closing the ICE Facility in Etowah County last year and:
In 2010, after years of controversy around Etowah’s dreadful conditions, the Obama administration promised to move toward a more civil form of detention by building newer, better facilities located closer to detainees’ homes and families, to legal service providers and to good medical care. As a result, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) was set to terminate its contract with the facility and stop detaining immigrants there.

Realizing that the loss of the only ICE contract in Alabama would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and $5.2 million in revenue for the county, local officials went to Washington, D.C., and lobbied federal lawmakers to renew the contract. Federal officials succumbed to this pressure, and in April 2011, ICE renewed its contract with Etowah, to hold up to 325 immigrants there.
Now this report isn't from some bunch of Commie loving Democrats that nobody will ever hear from again - this is an International Group that routinely talks about some of the worst things that happens to Women Worldwide. I know that doesn't carry much water for the Republicans in the Alabama State Legislature, those Legislators hatred of civil rights for non-white folks is well know, but for the rest of the Word reports like this aren't so good.

But as they say it gets worse:
Due to the remote location of the facility, detainees do not have access to free or low-cost attorneys who can guide them through the complex requirements they must meet in order to be released after six months. Moreover, detainees cannot even be removed directly from this facility because it is not near an international airport. Although the government is ostensibly in the process of trying to deport all of the detainees held there, each detainee will need to be transferred to another facility before actually being removed from the United States.

By holding detainees in Etowah, the U.S. government is creating a purgatory-type of situation for the detainees. Officials are not releasing them using alternatives to detention programs, but they can’t effectuate their removal either. The detainees are languishing in a legal no-man’s land at taxpayer expense. The U.S. government seems to be explicitly using Etowah as a facility to hold immigrants it knows it will not be able to remove quickly, if at all, from the United States and with the full knowledge and expectation they will eventually be released, to be reunified with family here in the U.S.
So, what's the take home here? Certainly Alabama likes undocumenteds when they are in prison and profitable but when they are out minding their own business and making a living - well they ain't so welcome. I'm surprised some enterprising Republican hasn't come up with the idea of forcing these poor undocumented folks in Etowah County's Detention Center to do farm labor for free in a "work release" program. Now that really would be the best of both worlds for the Republican Legislators - a new form of legal slavery and as a side benefit they could even talk about their "darkies" once again!

Note: this was cross posted on the blog Left in Alabama.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The sin of inhospitality & Alabama's new anti-immigrant law.

When I grew up in Alabama I was taught about the sin of inhospitality and remember discussing Matthew 25, this section seems especially relevant:
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Somebody please tell me that at least 1 Democrat had the huevos to stand up in the Alabama State Legislature and read at least part of that to the devils before they passed this bill! From my reading of the Bible those that voted for this hateful, mean spirited law have much to explain one of these days. I cannot ignore this statement from Jesus:
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
If those beautiful Hispanic children don't fit into the category of "the least of these" nothing ever will.

To further point out the gravity of their act please consider Matthew 18:
5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
I am sick over this. May the families that flee Alabama move to a better, kinder place. With their children they bring hope to where ever they go. May they do as Mark 6:11 suggests and "shake off the dust under" their feet as they cross the State Line to leave the evil that attacked them in Alabama. Let Alabama stew in its own hate - it has sealed its own fate.