Arizona IS America: Federal Immigration Enforcement Policies and Human Rights

The harshest immigration law on the books in the United States, Arizona’s State Bill 1070, has attracted national attention because it threatens to encourage racial profiling and opens the door for civil rights violations. President Obama has denounced the law, saying it is “misguided” and threatens “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.” [NOTE: Late reports are that the administration will file suit against the Arizona law; we'll have more on this tomorrow.] But even as Obama and his administration condemn SB 1070, they continue to expand federal programs such as 287(g) and Secure Communities, which would enforce similar policies across the country.



Two Tough Policies

The 287(g) program trains local police officers to enforce federal immigration laws and initiate deportation proceedings against undocumented immigrants. Secure Communities allows the federal government to use fingerprints to check the immigration status of anyone who is processed by a local police department. In both programs, men, women, and children can be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement before they are even charged with a crime. As a result, immigrant communities have lost trust in the police, and the immigration detention and court system is flooded with the cases of nearly 400,000 immigrants per year facing deportation.


Despite rhetoric from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton that their enforcement initiatives target “criminal aliens,” a study from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found that fewer  than half of the men, women, and children detained by ICE in 2009 had any criminal history. In Illinois, the National Immigrant Justice Center represents hundreds of immigrants detained and facing deportation from the United States every year.  In one recent month, we tracked the stories behind  the 288 people who,  placed into ICE custody, asked for our help.


Twenty percent of them  had no police record greater than a traffic offense or one DUI.  Among them was a father of three U.S. citizen children who had lived in the United States for 30 years with no criminal history when he was arrested for driving in a bike lane on his way to work. Another man was traveling to work with a group of co-workers when the Illinois State Police stopped their van and asked everyone inside about their immigration status.  The police did not issue a ticket or charge anyone in the car with an offense, but they did turn everyone over to ICE.


As ICE has expanded its enforcement programs, it has refused to ensure immigrant access to legal counsel and humane treatment. To accommodate the growing detention population, up 64 percent since 2005, ICE transfers detainees to isolated jails far from their families, often hundreds of miles from cities where they could find legal counsel. Without a lawyer, detainees are more likely to suffer human rights abuses and, because of the complexity of immigration law, can find it nearly impossible to adequately prepare their case for a fair day in court.


A Legal Double Standard

Here is where a crucial difference between U.S. immigration law and the criminal justice system comes into play: While non-citizens facing deportation have a right to be represented by counsel, they do not have access to court-appointed lawyers. Men, women, and children in ICE custody must locate and hire lawyers on their own Legal counsel is expensive, especially when detained and unable to work.  There are

other obstacles too: physical isolation, language barriers, and broken telephones.


Tragic Stories

One man who suffers from diabetes and asthma was held for five years at a detention facility in Oakdale, Louisiana, before he was able to find legal counsel by contacting the National Immigrant Justice Center. The 562-bed Oakdale facility is located more than 100 miles from New Orleans or Baton Rouge, where Louisiana’s five lawyers who represent detained immigrants struggle to meet the needs of even a fraction of the 2,300 immigrants detained in the state. The National Immigrant Justice Center lawyers, based in Chicago, had to advocate for their client from afar this spring when Oakdale’s medical staff refused to allow him to see a doctor when he suffered an episode of serious respiratory failure. This kind of incident is not uncommon in the sprawling immigration detention system: At least 112 people have died in ICE custody since 2003, and most of those deaths have been attributed to alleged neglect on the part of detention facility medical staff.


The man who has been suffering in Oakdale and the men who were detained during traffic stops on their way to work pose no threat to our communities*.  We shouldn’t spend taxpayer money to lock them up – at an average cost of $95 per person per day – in a system that endangers their health and human rights. If the government continues to expand programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities without oversight    to hold police officers and detention facility staff accountable, none of this will stop any time soon.


* Immigration Makes Our Cities Safer. Even in Arizona

by Tara Tidwell Cullen


LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

bob m.
bob m.6 years ago

Arizona IS America; Very good.
Now, can you say?
American citizens are the only legally responsible entities empowered to make and keep the laws of their state for the security of their families and visitors;of whatever colour.
This is a responsible, reasonable and friendly position which if strayed from is an abdication of sanity.

JULIE C.6 years ago

I find it odd that we only hear the negative opinions from the reporters who are SUPPOSED TO BE EDUCATED on these issues. I believe the Citizens commenting are far more educated & informed.
Yo! Robert~thanks for all your efforts & knowledge added to these idiotic issues! :)
These laws have been in place long enuf to allow U.S. Citizens to DEMAND ENFORCEMENT from the FEDERAL GOV'T (= Obumma, from what I'm told, but have yet to actually witness!)
Arizona/Arizona LEGAL Citizens (ME!) have every right to what we're doing!
so, everyone else just needs to GET OVER IT & Your POOR, PATHETIC SELVES! If YOU are offended in any way by our actions as LEGAL Citizens, then GET A LEGAL CITIZENSHIP & DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Otherwise, we'll continue to know that we're doing THE RIGHT THING & just laugh at your sad efforts to turn OUR COUNTRY into just another ____-Hole. I'm guessing that's WHY some of you are sympathizing w/ the Illegal Mexicans? You LIKE what you see there & want it here also?! Then why leave? GO HOME!!!

robert p.
robert p.6 years ago

well it is official now, our tax dollars being wasted for what the feds could but would not do... Go Arizona we support you. amnesty supporters all need to be jailed on treason charges. you people make me sick, humanity for everyone but your fellow citizens, shame on you all, please leave the country, how unpatriotic can you all be? we have laws, illegals chose to ignore them. so they reap what they sow. if i did something wrong and went to jail, I would not recieve such special treatments. why should they? please, the over religious BS of open boarders ect is garbage, it can not not will never work, that is a fantisy. come back to the real world. every country has immigration laws!! why is that? they work if enforced, as ours are not and see the problems we have. get a grip on reality and life. you people should send me your addresses so i know where to move when i become homeless, oh thats right i am a citizen, so i am not worthy. lmfao, what pieces of garbage you all realy are !! how do you sleep at night???

Janice P.
Janice P.6 years ago

I am offended by the signs the people in the photo are carrying, which are not in English, yet they demand "rights" from this country - a country into which they sneaked. That photo only inflames US citizens.

Ms. Samuels stated that fewer than one-half of those arrested had any criminal history in the US. That means that almost one-half DID have some criminal history in this country. That fact does not pose well for acceptance of her position for amnesty for illegals. The fact of the matter is that every single person here illegally is guilty of a criminal offense, which they committed when they entered this country outside the legal immigration laws.

I cannot have any sympathy with the fact that illegals do not get free court-appointed counsel. Do you have any idea how many American citizens lose rights of all kinds every single day of the week, simply because they cannot afford to hire an attorney to protect their rights? I know several right now, who desperately need legal help, but cannot get it because they earn too much to be eligible for free legal counsel and they cannot pay hundreds of dollars per hour for an attorney. If people, like Ms. Samuels, want to feel sorry for people who need, but cannot pay for, legal assistance, they can start right here with their own fellow citizens.

I do agree with one statement Ms. Samuels made. I do NOT want my tax money going to pay to keep such people incarcersted. They should be sent back home immediately.

robert p.
robert p.6 years ago

Serena P.
alot of these jobs are not menial wages for citizens would be 15 to 30 an hour in most construction jobs alone, non union companies pay then considerably less

robert p.
robert p.6 years ago

"Even physicians in those emergency rooms, don't fully get the point that by being compassionate, and generous, and gracious, they are, in essence, destroying their own livelihoods as well as their own hospitals," she said.

robert p.
robert p.6 years ago

We have a terrible, absolutely vicious, law called EMTALA: the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which is really the culprit that requires every emergency room, and every physician of an emergency room, to treat illegal aliens for free," she said.

Cosman said 84 hospitals in California have been forced to close because of the high cost of treating illegal aliens with only 50 percent of all treatments reimbursed by government.

robert p.
robert p.6 years ago

Hospitals, doctors and other health professionals are worried about the resurgence of some serious infectious diseases, and some believe illegal immigrants are the cause.

A rise in diseases such as whooping cough, tuberculosis, malaria, measles and even leprosy are creating public health concerns and have hit hospitals and health care systems already financially burdened by indigent illegals flooding emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

Madeleine Pelner Cosman, author of a report in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, is one of those professionals who has linked the increase in diseases with illegal immigration.

"Certain diseases that we thought we had vanquished years ago are coming back, and other diseases that we've never seen or rarely seen in America, because they've always been the diseases of poverty and the third world, are coming in now," she said.

As WorldNetDaily reported last month, even leprosy is suddenly on the radar of health officials.

Cosman recommends closing the border to all illegal traffic, rescinding the citizenship of "anchor babies," those born in the U.S. to parents of illegals, and making the aiding and abetting of illegals a crime and an end to all future amnesty programs.

"We have a terrible, absolutely vicious, law called EMTALA: the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which is really the culprit that requires every emergency room, and every physician of an emergency room,