Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Immigrant Dies in Detention

A man held as an undocumented alien in a Virgina jail died recently. This particular jail had previously been cited and investigated for providing poor and inadequate health care to detainees. The final report of the investigation states "Detainee health care is in jeopardy". Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) never released the report. Now a second death under similar neglect has occurred. (See New York Times article.) Another aspect to the case is tragic. The man was brought to the U.S. as a young child and grew up in the here.

The newly appointed replacement to Hillary Clinton's vacant senate seat has a record 180 degrees opposite the Secretary of State. Kristin Gillibrand as a congresswoman generally opposed what she called "amnesty", favored closer cooperation between local police and ICE, opposed granting driver's licenses to the undocumented, and favored English as the official language of the U.S. To add insult to injury, she co-sponsored the SAVE act which would have provided for speed-up deportations. Hispanic political leaders and many fellow Democrats wondered what the governor was thinking in appointing one so out of step with them on immigration -- as well as on gun-control and the economic stimulus. For a state that is 21% foreign-born -- 36% in the NYC metropolitan area -- it was cultural shock. Already many are plotting primary challenges in two years. Sen. Gillibrand recognizes she has a problem and has been "reaching out" to city political leaders. But she hasn't budged on "amnesty". Immigration advocates will be pressing her hard to change her views. (See New York Times article.)

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