THE HUMAN TOLL OF IMMIGRATION DETENTION: Mother Attempts Suicide After 6 Months In Texas “Family Detention Centers!”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mother-family-detention-suicide-attempt_us_59271267e4b062f96a34da5c?45b

Roque Planas reports in HuffPost:

“AUSTIN, Texas ― A woman locked at a family immigrant detention center tried to take her own life this month in what legal advocates described as a desperate effort to free her two kids.

Samira Hakimi, an Afghan national, has spent the last six months detained with her two young children despite a federal ruling that dictates they should have been released within three weeks. The case reinforces the longstanding concerns of immigrant rights groups that say asylum-seeking families should not be forced into prolonged detention.

“They told us you will only be a couple of days in there,” Hakimi told HuffPost. “I never thought that I would be detained here for such a long time. That I’m detained here because I’m from Afghanistan and that’s all. But I’m human.”

In Afghanistan, the Hakimi family had established a high school and multi-branch private university that used Western curricula, taught in both English and Dari and offered more than half its scholarships to women, according to lawyers representing Hakimi and her husband.

Since 2013, the Taliban repeatedly threatened the family for its work. To avoid the danger of commuting, the family moved onto the university campus and contracted private security guards that year.

It wasn’t enough for them to feel safe. “We could not go outside,” Hakimi said. “My children could not go to school. We thought they might be kidnapped. This was always in our minds…. They have their lives to live. They should live happy and free from every small thing, going to school and enjoying their lives.”

Last year, they fled Afghanistan with Hakimi’s brother-in-law and his pregnant wife, who were facing similar threats.

In December, the two families crossed into the United States from Mexico through a legal port of entry, where they all asked for asylum. The men were separated and sent to all-male immigrant detention centers, where they remain. Hakimi and her kids, as well as her sister-in-law and her newborn baby, were sent to the South Texas Family Detention Center in the town of Dilley and later transferred to the Karnes County Residential Center outside San Antonio.

Hakimi passed her “credible fear” interview ― the first step toward applying for asylum. It’s common practice for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to free people who pass these interviews so they can pursue their cases in immigration court, but ICE declined to release her and her children. The agency did not respond to a request for comment explaining why it refuses to release them. Hakimi’s sister-in-law is also still at Karnes with her 10-month-old baby.
DREW ANTHONY SMITH VIA GETTY IMAGES
The Karnes County Residential Center houses mothers who enter the United States with their children. Most of them seek asylum or other forms of humanitarian exemption from deportation.
Hakimi told HuffPost she had suffered from bouts of clinical depression before being detained. Advocates with RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal services to detained families, say she had attempted suicide in the past and told medical workers at Karnes that her condition had worsened as her case appeared to stall. Neither medicine nor therapy would alleviate the problem, she argued. Her depression stemmed from remaining locked up in the detention center with her children.

As the months dragged on, she lost hope. “Here, no one talks to us,” Hakimi said. “They don’t give us the reason why I’m detained in here. I never thought that I would be detained here for such a long time.”

Her son came to her one day asking her why other families were allowed to leave but not them. “That was really triggering her,” Amy Fisher, RAICES’s policy director, told HuffPost. “She was crying and really depressed. And she went into this thought process, when she was really low, thinking, ‘Well, if I’m no longer here, maybe my children can be free.’” Kids cannot be held without their parents or guardians in family detention.

After she made an effort to take her own life, she woke up in the medical unit of the detention center and was taken to a nearby hospital, where two members of the detention center staff sat with her continuously.

“I told them, ‘I’m just crying for my children, please,’” she said in a recording with one of her legal providers. “I’m not sick. But they gave me medicine. And they told me take this every four hours, but I didn’t take it anymore.”

********************************************

Read the full story at the link.

Don’t think that a few (or even many) attempted suicides or preventable deaths in immigration detention are going to change the Administration’s plans to establish an “American Gulag.” After all, what better “deterrent” than death to put a dent in migration.

No, the only thing that might get in the way is if Democrats start winning elections and wielding some political power in Washington. (Not that Democrats have been particularly enlightened when it comes to immigration detention, either. After all, Dilley, Karnes, Berks County, and other “family residential prisons” were Obama initiatives. But, that’s another story.)

But, as I just pointed out in an earlier blog, Dems appear lost in the political wilderness with no path out.

PWS

05-26-16

 

Six Compelling Stories Of How Refugees ARE America That You Should Read!

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/trump-america-refugees-immigrants-seattle-pacific-northwest/?utm_source=The+Seattle+Times&utm_campaign=893d2c55f3-Morning_Brief_05_19_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5beb38b61e-893d2c55f3-12276787

Daniel Beekman writes in the Seattle Times:

“The United Nations defines a refugee as someone forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.

He or she has a well-founded fear of being targeted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
A refugee can be an adult or a child.

Julie Wong was 10.

“It couldn’t have been longer than a football field from where we were hiding to that ship, but I remember what I saw along the way,” Wong said of the night she left the Vietnamese city Danang in 1975.

“We had to step over dead bodies. Bicycles. Suitcases. People’s lives strewn all around.”

Wong is 52 and lives with her husband in Sammamish. Their sons play football. She works for a pharmaceutical company as an oncology diagnostic consultant.

She cried when she talked about Danang being shelled and the refugee camp near San Diego where she took English classes.

She doesn’t usually talk about those things. Most people never ask, and she doesn’t feel the need to tell. She leads a busy life as a proud American.

But when Wong sees Syrian refugees on the news, running for their lives, she’s reminded of her own story.”

****************************************************

Read about Wong and five other Americans from refugee backgrounds at the link’

PWS

05-19-17

 

 

BREAKING: ENJOINED AGAIN! NATIONWIDE TRO! Judge in Hawaii Says Travel Ban Violates Establishment Clause! Trump Administration Basically Found “Not Credible” On Immigration/National Security Claims — Trump’s Own Statements & Those of Giuliani, Miller Used To Show Bias!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-travel-ban-blocked_us_58c99d18e4b00705db4bc38f

Report from HuffPost:

“A federal judge in Hawaii has placed a nationwide hold on key aspects of President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a ban on travel ― a scaled-back version that targeted all non-visa holders from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as a halt on the U.S. refugee resettlement program ― just hours before the new restrictions were to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said sections of the new travel order likely amounted to a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids the government from disfavoring certain religions over others.

Watson gave short shrift to the Trump administration’s argument that the new restrictions applied to a “small fraction” of the world’s 50 predominantly Muslim nations ― and thus could not be read to discriminate Muslims specifically.

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable,” Watson wrote. “The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.”

The judge also discarded the government’s defense that the text of the new executive order was silent on religion, supposedly solving constitutional defects identified by courts with the first order.

“Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude … that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, secondary to a religious objective of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims,” Watson wrote.”

**************************************

Here is Judge Watson’s written decision in State of Hawaii v. Trump:

http://www.hid.uscourts.gov/files/announcement142/CV17-50%20219%20doc.pdf

More bad news for the Administration — the Third Circuit has enjoined the removal of an Afghani interpreter with a visa who was denied admission and allegedly “withdrew” his application. Read about it in the WashPost here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/immigration-authorities-to-deport-afghan-man-who-helped-us-government/2017/03/15/a7eecb9a-098e-11e7-a15f-a58d4a988474_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-main_travelban1010am:homepage/story&utm_term=.051c21ef8afe

***************************************

It’s early in the game on the Administration’s uncompromisingly hard line approach to immigration issues. So far, however, they have racked up an impressive string of losses from coast to coast from Article III Judges all across the spectrum.

In other words, the bombastically inappropriate statements made by Trump and his advisors have “poisoned the well,” and the Administration is probably going to find it difficult to “un-poison” it. And, as long as guys like Bannon, Sessions, Miller, and Kobach are calling the shots, that might never happen.

As some have suggested, perhaps the President and his advisors need a type of “Executive Miranda Warnings” before they shoot off their mouths (or their Twitters) in public: “Everything you say (or Tweet) can and will be used against you.”

The next stop for “Travel Ban 2.0” probably will be the 9th Circuit. But, since the Administration already lost there on its appeal of the TRO in State of Washington v. Trump, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the 9th Circuit to lift the TRO. Like President Obama with the “DAPA Fiasco,” President Trump is learning that U.S. District Judges wield considerable power in our system.  As one of my colleagues once said, “U.S. District Judges are the last living potentates.”

None of this bodes well for the Administration’s next ill-advised plan — to ramp up removals, increase the use of immigration detention, maximize “expedited removal,” and reduce what’s left of the U.S. Immigration Court to the equivalent of two-shift assembly line workers churning out removal orders. Chances are that the Article III Courts are going to have something to say about that too. And, unless the Administration moderates its approach, it’s not likely to be anything they like.

PWS

03/15/17