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Via Crucis In Newark To Remember The Suffering of Immigrant Detainees (3-29-13) : City Hall (by Casa Esperanza)
“Jesus Is Made To Carry The Cross” at City Hall in Newark, NJ, as part of the Good Friday Way of the Cross For Immigrant Justice on March 29th, 2013
1. Jesus is condemned to death :: Theme: Immigrants are imprisoned by laws that do not reflect our beliefs / Location: Federal Immigration Building (970 Broad St.) / Luke 23:13-21
2. Jesus is made to carry the Cross :: Theme: Immigrants shoulder the jobs native born Americans don’t want / Location: City Hall (920 Broad St.) / Matthew 27:27-31
3. Jesus falls the first time :: Theme: How do I overcome adversity?
Location: Broad at Lafayette St. near Prudential Sports Center / Deuteronomy 10:17-19
4. Jesus meets His mother :: Theme: How do we support families torn by immigration?
Location: Across from the Prudential Insurance Company (745 Broad St.) / Luke 2:34-35
5. Simon of Cyrene is forced to help carry the cross :: Theme: How do I share the burdens of others? / Location: Military Park / Luke 23:26
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus :: Theme: How do I challenge society to offer care to all? / Location: St. Michael’s Hospital (111 Central Avenue) / Matthew 25:35b-40
7. Jesus falls the second time :: Theme: How must we take better care of our environment? / Location: The block of rubble at Orange St. and Martin Luther King Blvd. / Hebrews 5:7-8
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem :: Theme: How do I protect the vulnerable?
Location: Broad Street Train Station at MLK Blvd. / Luke 23:27-29
9. Jesus falls the third time :: Theme: How do I persevere in the face of despair?
Location: Martin Luther King Blvd at 7th Ave. / Matthew 24: 9-13
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments :: Theme: How do I protect the human dignity of others? / Location: Passing St. Lucy on 7th Ave. / Psalm 22:14-18
11. Jesus is nailed to the cross :: Theme: How do I forgive and reconcile with those who hurt me? / Location: Entrance to Branch Brook Park at 7th Ave. and Clifton St. / Mark 15: 22-24
12. Jesus dies on the cross :: Theme: How can we prevent inhumane treatment? / Location: Within Branch Brook Park / Mark 15: 33-37
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross :: Theme: How do I receive the immigrant into my communities? / Location: Exit Branch Brook Park at S. Ward and Clifton St. / John 19:38
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb :: Theme: How am I called to live in this world?
Location: St. Lucy’s Plaza, 118 7th Ave. / John 19:40-42
15.The Resurrection of Jesus :: Theme: How do I live the lessons of the Cross?
Location: Same location — Inside St. Lucy / Matthew 28: 1-7
SPONSORS include Pax Christi NJ, IRATE/First Friends, Wind of the Spirit, Archdiocesan Justice for Immigrants Task Force
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DO immigrants who are incarcerated while their legal status is resolved deserve a lawyer?
On a given day, roughly 34,000 immigrants are held in a patchwork of local jails and prisons, awaiting court hearings that determine whether they have the legal right to remain in the United States or will be deported. The recent revelation that roughly 300 immigration detainees are being held in solitary confinement — conditions that the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and others have said can constitute torture — highlights how punitive, costly and legally fraught American immigration policy has become.
Fifty years ago, the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright required state courts to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who could not afford lawyers. But people who are detained do not typically have lawyers because immigration law, unlike criminal law, does not provide a right to counsel. Immigrant detainees are allowed to hire lawyers, but more often than not, they cannot afford counsel or are shuffled through the system before they have a chance to find help.
Among the detainees not guaranteed representation are children, the mentally disabled, victims of sex trafficking, refugees, torture survivors and legal permanent residents. Free representation tends to be provided by lawyers at nonprofit advocacy groups that are ill equipped to keep up with demand.
The American immigration system is already wildly expensive, and providing lawyers for immigrants would make it even more expensive. In 2012, the Obama administration’s overall budget for immigration enforcement was $18 billion, significantly more than was spent by all other major federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.
Advocates of tighter controls on immigration say that guaranteeing detainees counsel would make matters only worse. With guaranteed representation, they argue, more immigrants would be allowed to stay. Studies have shown that having a lawyer during removal proceedings vastly improves an immigrant’s ability to defend against deportation. Without counsel, only 3 percent prevail in their asylum cases compared with 18 percent who have legal counsel.
Jon Freere, a legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, a research organization based in Washington that advocates for reduced immigration, pointed out that American citizens routinely deal with important civil matters like child custody, foreclosures or evictions without the benefit of guaranteed legal representation.
“Why should illegal aliens be guaranteed greater protections than citizens?” he asked.
Throwing more immigration lawyers into the mix, he said, would probably slow the process only further, especially considering that immigration lawyers are always looking to expand the scope of asylum.
Other immigration opponents add that harsh detention conditions encourage immigrants to more quickly sign papers, agreeing to leave rather than adjudicate the matter. Switch to ankle bracelets and provide more detainees with lawyers, they argue, and immigrants will linger in the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that much longer — and at considerable added taxpayer cost.
But immigrant advocates, civil rights lawyers and some immigration judges argue that providing guaranteed representation would actually help lower costs, lessen backlogs in the legal system and prevent miscarriages of justice, protecting people who have a right to stay in the country against deportation. The National Association of Immigration Judges wants to see more legal help for immigrants, arguing that representation would speed processing times because properly counseled immigrants are less likely to pursue claims that have no legal basis or to appeal in cases with little chance of success.
Paul Grussendorf, an immigration judge in Philadelphia from 1997 to 2001 and then in San Francisco until 2004, said he saw many immigrants pass before his bench, and although dozens were qualified to stay in the country, they were ultimately deported because they lacked legal representation.
Dozens of detainees who could have qualified to stay gave up after months in detention, he said, because they had no prospects of ever finding counsel to help them. He cited studies indicating that I.C.E. currently pays roughly $2 billion per year just to detain immigrants and that 80 percent of that cost could be saved by releasing immigrants but tracking them using ankle bracelets.
“The savings here could easily be used to offset the price of providing counsel for most immigrants being processed by I.C.E.,” Mr. Grussendorf said.
But Jan C. Ting, a law professor at Temple University and an assistant commissioner at the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1990 to 1993, said that shifting to alternative means of custody like ankle bracelets risked slowing the process and raising costs because it could increase the instances when immigrants failed to show up at their hearings.
“Only those who have worked on the government side have any appreciation of how difficult and expensive it is to try to enforce our immigration laws,” he added.
If Congress does not resolve questions about legal representation, civil rights advocates say they may challenge the status quo in the courts.
In what he described as a “first shot across the bow,” Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that his organization filed a federal class-action lawsuit in 2010 aimed at testing the constitutionality of immigrants’ right to counsel.
The lawsuit, filed in California, was on behalf of immigrants with severe mental disabilities who were never provided lawyers. The lead plaintiff in the case, José Antonio Franco González, who has an I.Q. below 55, was wrongfully held by I.C.E. for five years, which the A.C.L.U. argues could have been prevented if he had had a court-provided lawyer.
“If the government is going to deprive an individual of his liberty through a legal process,” Mr. Romero said, “the government should provide a lawyer to those who cannot afford one.”
Challenge the Oppression of the People! (by Casa Esperanza)
Ash Wednesday 2013 Pilgrimage To Repent Immigrant Detention : Helen on Hurricane Sandy Relief (by Casa Esperanza)
Helen speaks about the relief work she has been doing in Newark & Essex County for Hurricane Sandy victims; & suggests that we get involved here:
Clergy, Faith Leaders, Activists, Community Members & Former Immigrant Detainees Gathering on Ash Wednesday to Repent the Sin of Imprisoning Immigrants for Profit
On Wednesday, February 13th, 2013, people from across New Jersey and New York representing over a dozen faith-based, community and immigrant rights groups gathered for the fourth year in a row in Liberty State Park in Jersey City in front of the bridge to Ellis Island and in sight of the Statue of Liberty to repent the sin of immigration detention. This is the beginning of a day long series of events called “No More Silence! Awake to Justice!”
Participants travelled to Hackensack, Newark and Kearney to highlight sites of suffering for immigrants and their families. The day culminated with the 17th annual vigil at the Elizabeth Detention Center, the for-profit facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) where ICE first started incarcerating immigrants in NJ almost two decades ago.
The event was co-sponsored by: IRATE & First Friends; Pax Christi NJ; Action 21; American Friends Service Committee — Immigrant Rights Program, Newark; Casa Esperanza, Felician Sisters of North America; Wind of the Spirit; Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity for the Sisters of Charity of NJ; St. Joseph’s Social Service Center; Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, CEUS; NJ DREAM Act Coalition,; Anakbayan-USA; St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program; Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast; Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill; Monmouth County Coalition of Immigrant Rights
American Friends Service Committee, Immigrant Rights Program of Newark:
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Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless:
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IRATE & First Friends:
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New Jersey Advocates For Immigrant Detainees (NJAID):
New Jersey Dream Act Coalition:
New Jersey Forum for Human Rights:
Pax Christi NJ:
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WASHINGTON — On any given day, about 300 immigrants are held in solitary confinement at the 50 largest detention facilities that make up the sprawling patchwork of holding centers nationwide overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, according to new federal data.
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Nearly half are isolated for 15 days or more, the point at which psychiatric experts say they are at risk for severe mental harm, with about 35 detainees kept for more than 75 days.
While the records do not indicate why immigrants were put in solitary, an adviser who helped the immigration agency review the numbers estimated that two-thirds of the cases involved disciplinary infractions like breaking rules, talking back to guards or getting into fights. Immigrants were also regularly isolated because they were viewed as a threat to other detainees or personnel or for protective purposes when the immigrant was gay or mentally ill.
The United States has come under sharp criticism at home and abroad for relying on solitary confinement in its prisons more than any other democratic nation in the world. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement places only about 1 percent of its jailed immigrants in solitary, this practice is nonetheless startling because those detainees are being held on civil, not criminal, charges. As such, they are not supposed to be punished; they are simply confined to ensure that they appear for administrative hearings.
After federal immigration authorities caught up with him, Rashed BinRashed, an illegal arrival from Yemen, was sent to a detention center in Juneau, Wis. He was put in solitary confinement, he says, after declining to go to the jail’s eating area and refusing meals because he wanted to fast during Ramadan.
Federal officials confined Delfino Quiroz, a gay immigrant from Mexico, in solitary for four months in 2010, saying it was for his own protection, he recalls. He sank into a deep depression as he overheard three inmates attempt suicide. “Please, God,” he remembers praying, “don’t let me be the same.”
As lawmakers in Washington consider an overhaul of the immigration system, Congress faces thorny questions not just about what status to grant immigrants already in the country, but also about how best to increase enforcement efforts and what rights to ensure illegal immigrants during their detention.
The new federal data highlights how punitive and costly immigration policy has become, since solitary is one of the most expensive forms of detention.
“I.C.E. is clearly using excessive force, since these are civil detentions,” said Dr. Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist who studies solitary confinement at the Wright Institute, a graduate school in psychology based in Berkeley, Calif. “And that makes this a human rights abuse.”
Ernestine Fobbs, an agency spokeswoman, said that aside from immigrants who are separated from the general population for disciplinary reasons, detainees are isolated only “as a final resort, when other options are not available to address the specifics of the situation.”
“I.C.E. takes the mental health care of individuals in the agency’s custody very seriously,” she added. The agency declined to talk about particular cases, citing privacy concerns.
Another agency official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, emphasized that some detainees who are put in “segregation units” have criminal records, gang affiliations or histories of violence.
“It’s an extreme situation,” the official said. “We want to make sure not to overuse it.”
While the conditions of confinement vary, detainees in solitary are routinely kept alone for 22 to 23 hours per day, sometimes in windowless 6-foot-by-13-foot cells, according to interviews with current and former detainees and a review of case records involving more than three dozen immigrants since 2010.
Access to phones and lawyers is far more restricted in solitary; occasionally such communications were permitted only in the middle of the night when it was unlikely anyone would be available. Immigrants are typically given an hour or so of recreation each day, detainees said. In some facilities, that is limited to pacing in what detainees call “the cage,” a sparse indoor enclosure with concrete floors and fencing on all sides, similar to an indoor dog kennel.