Here the document I got from Erik in Broward Transitional Center to publish on my sites from someone who being detained in BTC doesn’t dare to give his name yet. I will call him Erik for the moment and in further communications.
For the connection with my case I will first quote what he told about myself in his document:
See point 2 – Showing up when they feel like it
But things changed, perhaps temporarily. On one occasion, a detainee, Hans Smedema, saw the librarian get out of her office at 10:30 AM, but instead of opening the library, she went down to talk to an officer, ignoring the detainees standing outside to get inside the library. Mr. Smedema could not hold it much longer and went down to her and asked her to open the library; she responded dismissively. So Mr. Smedema wanted to known her name so that he can file a grievance claim against her, and she was infuriated. Now she created a scene when Mr. Smedema went inside the library to type his grievance, and had a guard remove him from the library. Mr. Smedema went the next day to finish typing his complaint, but the librarian had the computer he was typing on shut down; the power cable had been pulled. So Mr. Smedema re-plugged the computer and again the librarian called a guard who brought him to a Supervisor mr. Joseph, whereupon she was told that he had the right to use the computers to file a complaint against the librarian. The next day Mr. Smedema was handcuffed and taken for interrogation by ICE officers. The librarian had complained that Mr. Smedema had physically touched her and unplugged a library computer! The closest that Mr. Smedema came to the librarian was when he had to put on his reading glasses and lean toward the name badge of the librarian to get her name; reading glasses work over a short distance. Mr. Smedema was adamant about charging Ms. Bataille with malice and fabrication, but Ms. Bataille eventually dropped her charge. But following the Smedema incident, the librarian opened the library on time for over a week … then she went on vacation from Oct. 5 to Oct. 14 (was supposed to be Oct. 13). Toward the end of October, there were two days in a row when she could have opened the library at 10:30 AM but opened it an hour later. Now that the Smedema incident is well past and nothing similar has happened, perhaps she is going back to her old ways.
See point 7 – The plight of asylum seekers and those who enter with visa waivers
Deportation bars people from re-entering the U.S. for 5-10 years. I suppose 5 years is for aliens who enter on a visa waiver. At its worst, ICE treats as criminals even people who seek asylum. I have met a gentleman from the Netherlands, Hans Smedema also mentioned earlier, who has an incredible tale of political persecution at the hands of the Dutch government and came to the U.S. to seek political asylum. He was incarcerated upon arrival and has been here for almost half a year. He had to be sent for a mental examination by a psychologist and a psychiatrist to ensure that he didn’t suffer from a psychosis such as paranoid schizophrenia. Mr. Smedema was declared mentally sound by the psychologist after a thorough examination, which he most certainly is, but psychotic by the psychiatrist, who only quizzed him for 10 minutes; he was sent to see these shrinks in chains, both his arms and legs bound, as is the standard procedure with criminals, but he has committed no crimes! ICE is undoubtedly violating Amnesty International guidelines and various other international treaties regarding the treatment of asylum seekers. Mr. Smedema has long been extremely frustrated because of his inability to access the internet to make his case or use his laptop, which has a lot of the data he needed to prove his claims. Unsurprisingly, over the last couple of months, Mr. Smedema expressed a desire of abandoning his asylum plea and getting the hell out of the U.S. Even his lawyer hardly responded and did a lousy job. Mr. Smedema’s petition for asylum was denied, and whereas this is another story, he does not seem to be upset. Apparently, his joy at being able to finally leave the hellhole he has been placed in exceeds the disappointment from the denied petition and concern over the risk he faces in the Netherlands.
Here the full document of Erik!
October 30, 2009 version from Erik, BTC Florida, USA
I will write about the facility where I am detained (Broward Transitional Center; BTC). BTC is supposed to be for non-criminals, but they treat us like criminals. It is difficult to get straight answers from the officers here, and it is not just me, but my attorney told me to beware of what the officers here tell me as it may be misleading, speaking of which, I feel sorry for detainees who speak little English or Spanish. I ran into a detainee from Poland who was in this situation. To top this, they have even detained an autistic Chinese at BTC! If you talk to him, he just blankly stares back.
- Making you run around; disinformation Dealing with some of the officers here is like encountering the corrupt officials in various departments of a Third World government, the kind who make you run around and wouldn’t help unless you bribed them, except that BTC officials are not looking for bribes. Consider this example of how they make you run around. My attorney tried to get in touch with my deportation officer, Michael Finnerty, since late August, 2009, but he never responded to him. I tried to get in touch with Mr. Finnerty for over a week, without success: I was given voluntary departure, but 2 days later told that my passport had expired, which will prevent me from traveling. So I had to see Mr. Finnerty to get my passport so that I could renew it. First I was told to come see Mr. Finnerty at 3 PM; he wasn’t there. I was told to come the next day; he still wasn’t there. I went there next day, but was told that he had left at 3 PM since no one was there to see him at this time; I was there around 3:24 PM; they have lockdown from 1 PM to 3 PM, and this time they let us out at 3:20 PM. The next day I went there and was directed to another officer who was not of much help. The next day I showed up, I was told that Mr. Finnerty is not going to see anyone in person and that to reach him I had to turn in a written request, which I promptly wrote. But Mr. Finnerty didn’t reply for over a week. I finally got to see Mr. Finnerty at 9 AM, 13 days after being told that my passport was expired, whereupon he told me to pick up my passport from Ms. Delgado at 3 PM that day. When I showed up to get my passport, it turned out that Mr. Finnerty had not given the passport to her, and I was asked to see her two days later. But again, I did not get my passport then and was told to come the next day. I finally got it 5 days after Mr. Finnerty originally told me to pick up my passport from Ms. Delgado. They were not supposed to give me voluntary departure with an expired passport, but they overlooked it. I ended up filing, with Mr. Finnerty, a request to extend the voluntary departure deadline, and I hope that he has taken care of the matter. Even if he hasn’t, inability to depart by the deadline if one is physically unable to does not violate the voluntary departure stipulations. Check out this example of disinformation. After about two weeks of stay at BTC, an officer told me that my court date is most likely 10 days from then, on the 8th day of the month, and that I could confirm my court date by calling a 1-800 number on the phone. The phones made available to us — which I will address shortly — do not dial 1- 800 numbers unless you are using a calling card that works with these phones only. So I had to look up some alternatives codes to call the immigration court information system, but on the rare occasion that I made a successful connection, I was informed that I hadn’t been entered into the system this was how it was right up to my court date. 3 days after I was told my court date would be 10 days thence; someone came to my door at around 7:30 AM and told me I have court at 8. I said I knew, assuming the gth day of the month, and went back to sleep. Around 8:20 AM, an officer came looking for me saying that I had to see the judge right then! I rushed there, not expecting to see my attorney, but he was there; he had been informed 3 days ago. An incident like this is not a fluke. It happened to two brothers who were called before the judge a week before they were scheduled, as originally told to them by an officer, but in the case of these brothers, their attorney had not been informed and didn’t show up. So the judge rescheduled them for a week later. Sometimes, a court date is cancelled at the last moment, and the detainee is not told why; rescheduling may take a few weeks.
- Showing up when they feel like it Some of the officers here show up when they feel like it. There was a room here where some movies could be borrowed, twice a week, but over a period of 3 weeks, no one had any luck doing so because the person in charge, Mr. D. Deering, did not show up during the designated hours or was busy doing something else when he was supposed to show up at 10:30 AM and hand out the movies, and after he was free, he had to lock up and go away to do something else. Eventually, Mr. Deering’s room bore a message that movies were now available in another room between 11:30 AM — 12:3 0 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But this room said that movies are available 3 PM — 4 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Oct. 1, I finally managed to check out a movie, but next week the person in charge was away on vacation!There is a lousy library with a few dozen books, often decades old, and 15 computers without internet access, but the librarian, Ms. Balde Bataille, has long showed up when she felt like it, not necessarily during the designated hours, and sometimes did not show up. She has been reluctant to enter and eager to leave. The librarian’s office is adjacent to the library, but still the librarian was often late. On some occasions, the librarian has emerged from her office close to 10:30 AM, when the library is supposed to open, but ignoring the people standing outside, waiting to get in, she went for an errand, sometimes without an explanation and sometimes with a brief comment that she will be back in two minutes after making a phone call, but has been back 20-plus minutes later. There is nothing we were able to do about it. If we complained, the librarian said that she decided when to open the library even though there is supposed to be a designated time. Such complaints in general are of no use since the officers tend to stick together, and we may even be told mockingly: tell it to your lawyer.But things changed, perhaps temporarily. On one occasion, a detainee, Hans Smedema, saw the librarian get out of her office at 10:30 AM, but instead of opening the library, she went down to talk to an officer, ignoring the detainees standing outside to get inside the library. Mr. Smedema could not hold it much longer and went down to her and asked her to open the library; she responded dismissively. So Mr. Smedema wanted to known her name so that he can file a grievance claim against her, and she was infuriated. Now she created a scene when Mr. Smedema went inside the library to type his grievance, and had a guard remove him from the library. Mr. Smedema went the next day to finish typing his complaint, but the librarian had the computer he was typing on shut down; the power cable had been pulled. So Mr. Smedema re-plugged the computer and again the librarian called a guard who brought him to a Supervisor mr. Joseph, whereupon she was told that he had the right to use the computers to file a complaint against the librarian. The next day Mr. Smedema was handcuffed and taken for interrogation by ICE officers. The librarian had complained that Mr. Smedema had physically touched her and unplugged a library computer! The closest that Mr. Smedema came to the librarian was when he had to put on his reading glasses and lean toward the name badge of the librarian to get her name; reading glasses work over a short distance. Mr. Smedema was adamant about charging Ms. Bataille with malice and fabrication, but Ms. Bataille eventually dropped her charge. But following the Smedema incident, the librarian opened the library on time for over a week … then she went on vacation from Oct. 5 to Oct. 14 (was supposed to be Oct. 13). Toward the end of October, there were two days in a row when she could have opened the library at 10:30 AM but opened it an hour later. Now that the Smedema incident is well past and nothing similar has happened, perhaps she is going back to her old ways.
- Food The food here is horrible in terms of energy content. The typical adult is bound to lose weight on this food because it is calorically inadequate. I lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks; I weighed myself in the medical unit they have here. But lam normally a mere 160 lbs at 5-11. The record I have heard is 30 pounds in three weeks; it happened to an English person who came in a well-muscled 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6. Two nurses in the medical unit have told me that the food they give to the detainees — 3 meals a day — complies with the American Dietary/Dietetic Association guidelines! I don’t see how. They do serve us both vegetables and animal products, but the deficit is in the calories. It is interesting to see how they serve us drinks at lunch and dinner — a glass of pink lemonade, or iced tea, or grape punch, or fruit punch and the like, but never containing fruit juices. Before they add the drink to the glass, they fill a third of it with ice, for which there is no need since they can serve freshly prepared cooled drinks. Adding a lot of ice is a trick used by fast food restaurants to reduce the amount of drink they have to serve, but why do the BTC people need to do this?The bread they give us — a slice or two — or a bun is of the white refined type. They give whole wheat bread to only the diabetics. In over two months stay at BTC, I have encountered only two instances when they served a slice of whole wheat bread to the general detainee population. And a detainee who has worked in the kitchen told me that the bread they buy is discounted because it is about to expire.Breakfast is supposed to be served between 6-7 AM. One day I showed up at around 6:50 AM and found a huge number of detainees waiting to get to the dining hall; breakfast had started late, and I did not get my turn until 7:30 AM. The next day I showed up at about 6:47 AM, and found around 30 detainees lined up in front of an officer who was explaining that breakfast is over, and all of us were turned away. Apparently, if it is close to feeding time being over and there is a brief lull in detainees going to the dining hall, then they declare dining over. The next day, I woke up late at 7:10 AM but still went toward the dining hall to see if I may run into luck, and again there was a big line and my turn came around 7:40 AM.The only people who do not lose weight here are those who buy food, at inflated prices, from the vending machines and commissary. On the other hand, looking at the detainee population in general, it will not be apparent that they are inadequately fed since several have excess body fat. The reason is that the detainees are overwhelmingly Mexican, the vast majority of whom entered the U.S. illegally and are candidates for deportation. Mexicans are deported fast… within 10 days. I have come across Mexicans who have been deported after only a day’s stay at BTC. So most detainees do not stay at BTC long enough to become visibly thinner.The situation is so bad that I have lost weight even though my roommates sometimes have extra food that they give me. I even came down with a flu infection; I was housed with people, 3 of whom were coughing and sneezing. Normally, I would not catch an infection in this situation — such is my immune system. I have lived with or come in contact with people who broke out in chicken pox, shingles or had tuberculosis but didn’t get the infection. When one travels to a new, distant place, one is supposed to catch some flu infections initially because one lacks immunity to these newer varieties, but after first coming to the U.S., it took me 2.5 years before I came down with my first flu infection in the U.S. I have little doubt that malnutrition compromised my immune system and this is why I was sick for a week.I tried to request permission for a friend to send me multi-vitamin-mineral supplements. One nurse told me that this is a non-prescription item and does not need medical approval, and I should make out the request to the person in charge of incoming mail, which I did. But the request again ended up with the medical unit, and a new nurse told me that they won’t allow vitamin shipments since I can buy multi-vitamins at the commissary. The multi-vitamins sold at the commissary are a lousy make, but I did order them because of lack of alternatives. When I went to pick up the order, they could not find it, and I was asked to come back again after they are done with the others. I showed up again, and then they told me that the order didn’t arrive because they were out of stock. So I had to place another order, and only then did I get the vitamins.When ICE detains people around the weekend or a holiday, the detainees will be temporarily housed in jail or prison. Before I was brought to BTC, I was in a jail in Yulee for 2.5 days, housed with criminals. The food there was similarly calorically inadequate, though this may not be a universal problem with jails. I have heard that the food is better in some jails. At least at BTC, there is time to eat one’s food in a non- hurried manner. At the Yulee jail, they give you only a few minutes to eat your food or the uneaten food is taken away; I learned this right away when my unfinished tray was snatched away from me.Food items served at BTC are more often tastier than those served at the Yulee jail. 3 detainees who were housed in Pinellas County prison for a few days before being brought to BTC told me that even a dog would not eat the food served to them at this prison, and that the food served at BTC was comparatively ‘restaurant food’ taste-wise. I could not get them to answer whether the prison food was calorically adequate because they could not eat much of it.
- Phones The phones here have extremely poor connectivity. About 30 phones are made available to the inmates. BTC can accommodate 800 detainees and has 600-plus detainees at any given time. The phones can only be used during designated hours — roughly: 5AM —9AM, 10:30 AM —1 PM, 3PM —8 PM, 9:45 PM —10:30 PM — minus any other period where they may initiate lockdown, which may be arbitrary. Naturally, one has to stand in line to wait one’s turn. And when the turn comes, the phones typically make us hear a message that all lines are busy or to please hang up and try again later. Sometimes a successful connection is never made, and it is common to try 30 minutes or more to successfully reach the phone one is dialing; all this applies to calls within the U.S. I have been told that international calls are much harder to place. And the company that provides the phone service, Evercom, charges exorbitantly: for collect calls, it charges $2.50 for the first minute and 30 cents per mi thereafter; it also sells phone cards that charge 50 cents for local calls, 24.5 cents a minute for domestic long distance calls and $0.95 per minute for international calls. There is also a 15 mm. limit for a phone call.Only phone cards sold by Evercom work with the phones available to detainees. But even if we use these phone cards, the receiver has to listen to a message, “You are receiving a free call from an inmate at a correctional facility,” and then, after a pause, “to accept this message, press 1.” This means that detainees cannot leave messages on answering machines or call numbers where a voice prompt requires the caller to press a specific digit or extension to reach the interested party.On top of this, some of the phones sometimes malfunction. On three occasions, I have called someone who could not hear me even though I could hear him.
- Living quarters: grooming BTC structurally is not a proper jail but more motel like; it has been converted to a makeshift jail. They put up to 7 people in a room meant for 1-2 people at most. 7 people in a small room translates to conflicts that may interfere with sleep, and it seems that they are planning on housing 8 detainees per room. I am lucky in the sense that my room has bedding for only 6 and I regularly have only 4 other roommates, all of whom volunteer to work for the facility — maintenance, laundry work, etc. — and thus get some extra privileges, which translates to the room being always stocked with toilet paper, soap and shampoo. But others have to go through the hassles of insuring that they have toilet paper before it runs out. Regulars also have to deal with the hassles of standing in line, early morning (7:30 AM), to do laundry or get materials to clean their rooms. But my roommates know very little English and communicating with them is not an easy task.To get a haircut, one has to select one of three available days and stand in a line by 7:30 AM to get a ticket for obtaining a haircut. Since the tickets are limited and the line has more people than can be serviced by the barbers, one usually has to stand in the line by 6:30 AM to hopefully get a ticket when the person who hands them shows up at 7:30 AM. Shaving is forbidden! Only detainees without any experience do the haircut! Bold is the best to chose.Shaving is even worse. One has to get up at 5 AM and go to a designated officer’s room to get a razor after turning in one’s ID card; the razor will have to be returned right after shaving.
- Unnecessarily prolonging incarceration Consider the case of Neeraj Kumar. He was arrested by FBI agents Don W. Dunn and James A. Stone in Tampa, FL, for working without having his CPT renewed; CPT is practical earned-work training for students while they are enrolled in vocational education school. He was transferred to BTC, but his belongings and passport remained in Tampa. In order for Mr. Kumar to ask the judge for a bond or voluntary departure, he had to have his passport with him, but his repeated requests to the Tampa office concerned went unheeded. Mr. Kumar spent 3 months in detention before he got his passport from Tampa, and the judge gave him voluntary departure —30 days to leave, during which he was to be detained at BTC — but he did not get his belongings from Tampa, which contained his laptop and transcripts from high school onward. Mr. Kumar tried repeatedly to get his belongings by sending letters and faxes, in vain; he could not call the FBI officials who had his property because the phones made available to the detainees do not work with automated voice prompts that come on before the caller can dial the extension for the interested party. Mr. Kumar, extremely frustrated and having had enough, left the country without his belongings, and will try to get them through someone else.
- The plight of asylum seekers and those who enter with visa waivers Some of the detainees here are from European nations whose citizens don’t need a visa to come to the U.S., but this privilege comes with a catch: if they overstay, they don’t have the rights — few as they are — afforded to those who enter the U.S. with a valid visa.I met a man from Sweden, Richard Muntzing, who came to the U.S. on his boat but overstayed. He was arrested by ICE (Immigration and customs Enforcement) and was told that he would be deported to Sweden. He requested that he be taken to his boat, which is docked nearby in Miami, and that he would drive it away from U.S. territory, but they declined. He made an alternative request that he be allowed to leave for the Bahamas so that he can have a friend drive his boat there, and then he could take his boat to Sweden, but they also declined this option. An immigration officer angrily told him that he has no rights because he entered the U.S. on a visa waiver, and he was flown to Sweden at the U.S. government’s expense (deportation) after about a month of detention. Deportation bars people from re-entering the U.S. for 5-10 years. I suppose 5 years is for aliens who enter on a visa waiver. At its worst, ICE treats as criminals even people who seek asylum. I have met a gentleman from the Netherlands, Hans Smedema also mentioned earlier, who has an incredible tale of political persecution at the hands of the Dutch government and came to the U.S. to seek political asylum. He was incarcerated upon arrival and has been here for almost half a year. He had to be sent for a mental examination by a psychologist and a psychiatrist to ensure that he didn’t suffer from a psychosis such as paranoid schizophrenia. Mr. Smedema was declared mentally sound by the psychologist after a thorough examination, which he most certainly is, but psychotic by the psychiatrist, who only quizzed him for 10 minutes; he was sent to see these shrinks in chains, both his arms and legs bound, as is the standard procedure with criminals, but he has committed no crimes! ICE is undoubtedly violating Amnesty International guidelines and various other international treaties regarding the treatment of asylum seekers. Mr. Smedema has long been extremely frustrated because of his inability to access the internet to make his case or use his laptop, which has a lot of the data he needed to prove his claims. Unsurprisingly, over the last couple of months, Mr. Smedema expressed a desire of abandoning his asylum plea and getting the hell out of the U.S. Even his lawyer hardly responded and did a lousy job. Mr. Smedema’s petition for asylum was denied, and whereas this is another story, he does not seem to be upset. Apparently, his joy at being able to finally leave the hellhole he has been placed in exceeds the disappointment from the denied petition and concern over the risk he faces in the Netherlands.
- Bad lawyers The lawyers / attorneys available to the detainees are generally not good ones. They are only interested in one thing: money. Sometimes one will end up paying them thousands of dollars only to get voluntary departure, which one could have obtained by simply representing oneself in immigration court. These lawyers will often prolong cases to make their clients pony up more money. Some of them will even decline collect calls.
- Waste of money and resourcesThe judge here, Rex J. Ford, favors deporting people to giving them voluntary departure. Except for [indigent?] Mexicans, voluntary departure means that the expenses for the flight trip to one’s home country will be borne by the detainee. Considering that the U.S. government is in over $11.5 trillion in debt, and rapidly increasing at that, it is amazing why this judge has often ordered that some detainees be deported, at government expense, when these people had sought voluntary departure and could have paid for their ticket home. This judge apparently delights in deporting people, holding even minor misdemeanors against detainees. Rex Ford has been known to regard as a bad citizen a detainee who has received a speeding ticket! The vast majority of people who have driven motor vehicles either have received a speeding ticket or have speeded at some point for reasons that wouldn’t qualify as a valid excuse to a traffic cop.Many people detained here, including myself, should never have been arrested and brought here in the first place, but, instead, served a notice to appear before a judge on a designated date, failing which a warrant for their arrest would be issued. Many of us have either already made an attempt to legalize our stay in the U.S. or have a strong interest in doing so, and hence would not refuse to show up before an immigration judge at the designated time because failure to do so would prevent one from entering the U.S., adjusting one’s status or qualifying for relief for 10 years. But ICE acts as if the government has all the money in the world, and is quick to arrest and detain people. Several of these people will be detained at government expense for 3 weeks before they see a judge and are released on bond, which will eventually have to be returned by the government after the case is over.It is also remarkable how much money they waste over arresting people and transferring them to jail. I had an ICE official travel from his headquarters 90 miles away to arrest me at the behest of a malicious police official who wanted to get me somehow or the other after failing to get me convicted over a non-criminal molehill incident that her police department made a mountain of, but ICE resources are better spent on criminal aliens and aliens who have not left the country after being ordered to do so, of which there are hundreds of thousands. I was then taken by car to the town where ICE headquarters were, and then by a van, along with another detainee, to a jail 30 miles away for the weekend. Then I was sent back to ICE headquarters in a van, and then to a town 150 miles away, with a few others, in a van. From this town, I was sent 200 miles away to BTC, in Pompano Beach, in a bus; there were only 2 other detainees in that bus. After the 3 of us arrived at BTC, another batch of 3 detainees arrived from elsewhere, again in a bus. An early 2009 Associated Press report revealed that the government had 32,000 people incarcerated for immigration violations, and was spending an average of $141 per day per detainee. 58% of these detainees had no criminal convictions; after being served a notice to appear, they should have been released on their own recognizance, or after paying bond, or released under electronic ankle monitoring, which only costs about $13 per day (as of early 2009) and has an excellent court attendance compliance rate. Many people seeking voluntary departure are strongly interested in not jeopardizing a future return to the U.S., and so they will comply with the regulations and leave on schedule, but the judge here will not release them to gather their belongings. He will have them detained till the date of departure and escorted under safeguard to the airport; these detainees will only be allowed to take 30 pounds of their personal belongings with them, which will have to be dropped off at BTC by a friend after approval for this is obtained. Imagine people living years in the U.S. and not being allowed to sort through their belongings before they leave. So they waste money unnecessarily detaining people and deprive them of a chance of settling their affairs before leaving the U.S. Naturally, some people will be coming back to the U.S. illegally to settle their affairs. I met a detainee from northern Europe who had brought a lot of his property to the U.S., but was deported without having a chance to take any of it back. He told me that since he does not need a visa to go to Canada, he will travel there and illegally cross her border with the U.S. to take care of his property.
- Non-consistent immigration judges My attorney tried to get me released on bond since I have the opportunity to adjust my status by marrying my girlfriend, but the judge, Rex Ford, wouldn’t allow it. The attorney told me that most judges would have released me on bond for this reason. Judge Ford has a reputation for being very strict. I have heard many horror stories about his decisions. As an example, there were two aliens who entered the U.S., one legally, the other illegally. Both were arrested after the person who entered legally overstayed his visa, and the illegal entrant transferred to the Krome center at Miami and the legal entrant transferred to BTC. Judge Ford refused to release on bond the legal entrant, whereas a more lenient judge at Krome released the illegal entrant on bond, even though illegal entrants, like those who enter the U.S. with a visa waiver have little to no rights within immigration law.This has led to a useful tip that I should have received before dealing with Judge Ford. At midnight, go outside to make a phone call, which will be a serious violation of lockdown rules, and which in turn will get one transferred to Krome, presumably a proper jail, but with lenient judges. If the first incident does not work, the second or third one will.
- The nature of immigration violations Immigration violations in the U.S. are classified as civil violations. Whereas one may think this good because violators do not end up with a criminal record, the civil nature of the violations means that violators have no right to a court-appointed attorney, no claim to habeas corpus, no guarantee of a speedy trial/proceedings, no protection against double jeopardy, no appeal on the basis of having had an incompetent attorney, and even adults who have grown up in the U.S. since early childhood but are in violation of immigration law because of the mistakes of their parents are subject to lengthy incarceration and removal. And, violators are assumed guilty until proven innocent.
- Some general observations Some years ago, I had come across honor stories — a few case studies — about ICE detainees. I had assumed that these case studies were freak examples, inevitable if the system has to deal with millions of immigrants and illegal aliens. But now I have changed my views after coming across too many people who have experienced the horrors of ICE incarceration. There cannot be a whole lot of freak cases.Many of the officers/officials involved are naturally rude and make people run around deliberately. They have secure government jobs or effectively government jobs if they are under contract with the government, and thus have nothing to lose. People with authoritarian attitudes and those deriving a perverse sense of pleasure from the misfortune of others are bound to be attracted to secure government-type jobs where they can be who they are with little cost or risk to themselves. There may be some online resources meant as an outlet for people abused by ICE/DHS, where observations such as above need to be posted, and if there are no such resources, we can create some websites. At least these people can be shamed if nothing else. I will have a lot more to write/discuss about DHS/ICE later.
By Erik in Broward Transitional Center, Pompano Beach, Florida, USA
October 30th, 2009 handed to Hans Smedema, Netherlands