Friday, May 13, 2011

Women and immigration

A series of articles about women and detention and the impact of immigration policy on women and families...

Immigrants for Sale: CCA, AZ, and SB1070

Medical care being denied in detention

A woman chose to be deported from Arizona instead of continue to receive no medical care inside the detention center.  Read about her in this article by Meghan Rhoad of the Human Rights Watch:

We have heard terrible stories. Inside Florence Correctional Center, an entire unit requested that one of the men being held with them receive medical and mental health attention. The men being held with him were afraid of him and for him. Weeks went by. He eventually pulled one of his own teeth out. Only once he was covered in blood, was he taken away to receive care.

Medical care in detention is a matter of basic human decency. The United States should honor the dignity of every one.

121 Died in ICE Custody in 10.5 years

At least 121 people have died while in ICE Custody from October 2003 - April 29, 2011. Eleven men have died while in custody in Florence or Eloy detention centers.

A full list and report is available from ICE here:

One man who hung himself with a towel in the Pinal County Jail in Florence is listed on the report as death by "asphyxia." Several others seem to have died of heart attacks and stokes, which most certainly could have been brought on by stress.

Below are the names and details of the 11 men on the ICE list who have died while custody in Florence or Eloy, since October of 2003.


PEREZ‐AYALA, MANUEL M 12/24/1949 CUBA 3/14/2004 St. Thomas More Hospital, Canon City, CO (BOP) Florence No BOP Sudden Cardiac Death

LOPEZ‐LARA, JOSE M 10/20/1948 MEXICO 10/24/2004 Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Cerebral Infarct

LOPEZ RUELAS, ELIAS M 2/16/1950 MEXICO 1/4/2005 RTA Hospice in Casa Grande, AZ Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Cirrhosis of Unclear Etiology

NAND, MAYA (AKA NARID, MAYA) M 2/24/1948 FIJI 2/2/2005 Eloy ‐ St Mary's Hospital, Tuscon, AZ Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Cardiac Arrest

SALAZAR‐GOMEZ, JUAN M 6/24/1976 MEXICO 12/14/2005 Eloy Detention Ctr Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Asphyxia

LOPEZ‐GREGORIO, JOSE M 1/1/1974 GUATEMALA 9/29/2006 Eloy Detention Ctr Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Asphyxia

CHAVEZ‐TORRES, MARIO FRANCISCO M 11/10/1979 COLOMBIA 12/13/2006 Eloy Detention Ctr Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Ruptured Arteriovenous Malformation Midbrain

RODRIGUEZ‐TORRES, FELIX M 10/31/1970 ECUADOR 1/18/2007 Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ Eloy Detention Ctr No IGSA Germ Cell Tumor with Metastasis

CANALES BACA, ROGELIO M 3/28/1972 HONDURAS 7/8/2008 Pike County Jail, Milford, PA Pinal County Jail Yes IGSA Asphyxia

DAWOOD, NAIL YOURSEF M 8/13/1966 IRAQ 7/21/2008 Eloy Detention Ctr Eloy Detention Ctr Yes IGSA Coronary Artery Vasculitis

OWUSU, EMMANUEL M 1/10/1946 GHANA 10/6/2008 Casa Grande Regional Hospital, AZ Eloy Detention Ctr Yes IGSA Complications of Acute Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)

Trans and Gay immigrants in detention centers

Florence Service Processing Center is named in this civil rights complaint filed last month on behalf of gay and transgender immigrants held in detention.

Recently we met a lesbian who had been detained in Eloy. She said that a transgender woman there was held in isolation. They tried to put her in isolation but she protested and said they couldn't do that just because she was gay. She said the guards also were always suspicious and often harassed her when she was talking to other women at break times. And that they strictly enforced a no-touching rule inside the CCA-run Eloy detention center. None of the women being detained could touch each other in any way. No pats on the back, hugs, high-fives, or even sitting and talking closely.

Group alleges abuse because of sexual orientation

April 13, 2011
By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press
For 22 hours a day, Alejandro Cortez-Reyna, who is transgender, was confined to a 5-by-9-foot cell in immigration custody. Eventually the time out of the cell was reduced to about 45 minutes.

When Cortez-Reyna once asked why dayroom time for gay or transgender immigrants at the Theo Lacy facility in California was cut to less than two hours, a guard responded, "Because you need to learn not to be a faggot."

The guard's response is part of a civil rights complaint filed Wednesday on behalf of Cortez-Reyna and 12 others. It alleges systemic abuse and neglect of gay and transgender immigrants while in custody at facilities owned or contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Chicago-based Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center filed the action with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Inspector General's Office.

Read rest of article:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Welcome to Shellbyville showing in Tucson

A new documentary about how towns are working together to truly welcome refugees and immigrants into their community is showing in Tucson next week.

Watch Welcome to Shelbyville for free at several libraries in Tucson and nearby towns.
See more about the movie here:

The director of Welcoming America will be in Tucson next week too. And will be on a panel after the Wednesday showing. He and the director of the film will also meet with community folks who are already welcoming refugees and immigrants here in Tucson. Call Mary (a librarian) at 520-594-5394 if you'd like to know more about or attend that Tuesday afternoon gathering.

Just learned about Welcoming America. It seems to have a lot of the same spirit that we are trying to foster. Hospitality, community building, honoring the human dignity of all. They are the next step in the process. We offer short term hospitality to folks at times of transition. They foster connections in communities where people settle and try to find home.

Here's the scoop from the Pima County library website:
Monday, May 9, 2011
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Himmel Park Branch Library
Here's your chance to watch and discuss the film Welcome to Shelbyville by Kim Snyder at a Community Cinema screening event. Set in the heart of America's Bible Belt, Welcome to Shelbyville focuses on a small Southern town as they grapple with rapid demographic change and issues of immigrant integration. The film captures the complexity of the African American, Latino, white, and Somali subjects as their lives intertwine against the backdrop of a crumbling economy and the election of a new president. & showing again on:
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
This one hour free screening will be followed by a half hour moderated discussion. This event is in partnership with Arizona Public Media and Community Cinema which features films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens.
For more information call 520-791-4010.

New Report out about Parents in Detention, Kids

Here's a situation. A parent is living in the United States. Their kids are U.S. citizens. They do not have legal status for themselves. They are arrested and held in immigration detention. Their kids are taken into state custody and put in the foster care system. The parent, unable to make calls, attend court, or visit their children has their rights as a parent severed.

This report details what is happening, not just here in Arizona, but all across the country. It gives concrete recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security, the child welfare system, the department of Justice and Congress. Let your U.S. Congress person know about the new report and ask them to support these recommendations through new legislation. Write Janet N. and let her know what is happening here and that you care about it.

Let's hope they are listening. And act. Our immigration system is broke. And it is hurting children and families. Let's stop locking up mamas and keeping them from their babies. Let's stop ripping fathers out of the lives of their children, with no path to reunify them.

Full report here: