UPDATE: Detained immigrants still in mortal danger (from: No More Deaths)
This post reprints a very important email message from the Arizona org No More Deaths. Billie~>
Two weeks ago, we read with horror the letters from 21 men held in the Torrance County Detention Facility, fearing kidnapping and death if deported on the Mexican border and particularly on the part that borders Texas. These men are some of the hundreds of “Streamlined” Mexicans who are arrested, prosecuted and sentenced in Arizona on immigration charges every week. Their initiative and call for support sparked the outrage of thousands here in the U.S. and set in motion a national campaign to end dangerous deportation practices taking place daily.
This campaign continues. ICE has explicitly refused to act. Please call (202) 282-8495 and leave a message for Janet Napolitano: “Where deportation isn’t safe, it isn’t an option.”
Here is the latest information we have as of tonight, Wednesday, June 22:
Over 2,000 people have responded to the action alert so far, delivering almost 7,000 letters by fax to officials of the Department of Homeland Security!
Of the 21 who spoke out, 7 were deported prior to June 17, we believe through Texas. We have no news from them.
No one has been deported since. Ten of the remaining 14 are currently in ICE custody, having completed their Streamline jail sentences; some have been with ICE since June 16.
It is very unusual that they are still in custody this long past their release date. We don’t know exactly what it means, but we know that NOW IS THE TIME to put pressure on the El Paso ICE field office in charge of their cases: PLEASE CALL (915) 225-0885 and keep calling, with the message: DON’T DEPORT THROUGH TEXAS!
No More Deaths humanitarian-aid workers in Nogales regularly meet migrants with nightmarish experiences of being deported through Texas. This week, a young man reported being kidnapped upon his deportation 10 days ago, beaten, threatened with death, and held for $2,000 ransom (which was paid). He could have been one of the 21: just like them, he was arrested in Arizona in April and held in Torrance County until his deportation this month at Eagle Pass, Tex./Piedras Negras, Coah.—after a nine-hour bus ride from New Mexico.
ICE issued an official response to your calls and faxes on June 16, rejecting responsibility for anything that happens to a person after they are deported. “While ICE recognizes the current situation relating to violence inMexico, the agency is not in the practice of allowing detainees to request repatriation to specific locations in Mexico. ICE makes every effort to work closely with the Government of Mexico to ensure the safe and orderly repatriation of all detainees.” (Read the full response from ICE.)
The 14 remaining detainees have been contacted by the ACLU and other legal-aid organizations, and in some cases have been taken on as clients. This would not have happened if they had not raised their voices and if we had not responded as a community.
Fueled by U.S.-backed militarism, U.S. guns, and the U.S. drug market, the drug war is escalating and public security is deteriorating all along the border and throughout Mexico. It is not a given that we have to deport people somewhere, anywhere. A fundamental policy change is needed. The Obama administration and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have the authority to act. We need to give them this message:
WHERE DEPORTATION ISN’T SAFE, IT ISN’T AN OPTION.
If you haven’t sent a fax yet, please do so now. It only takes a few minutes.
If you haven’t made a phone call, or even if you have, please call now and leave a message for Napolitano on her public-comment line: (202) 282-8495.
The policy of disregarding Mexican deportees’ safety is an outrage. We are in territory not ventured since the 1980s when Central Americans fleeing political violence were denied asylum by the U.S. We need to ask ourselves, our friends, and our families to do more than we have done before to end deportations into the drug conflict.