Monday, February 9, 2009

Immigration Detention Reform Moves to Front Burner

Robert Lovato - Of América
Posted Feb. 2, 2009

“I went through that system. I was there. I could have died too,” says
Velazquez upon hearing of Newbrough’s death. Velazquez, a recently released
immigrant detainee from Oaxaca, Mexico who now lives in Richmond, Virginia, is
looking for action from Washington. “I wish I could speak to Mr. Obama. I would
tell him ‘They (immigration authorities) jail so many people and they don’t know
what they’re doing. They have no right to let people die,’” said

His mobility and work possibilities are limited by the big black ankle
bracelet that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is forcing
him to wear until his hearing in June. He cannot leave his sister’s apartment in
the evenings. But Velazquez does not let his undocumented status limit his

“I want him (Obama) to know that we should be building schools and
hospitals, things that help people, not these prisons,” the very soft-spoken
Velazquez declared in his most strident cadence as he took a break from folding
flyers for a protest to halt the construction of another immigrant detention
center in Farmville, where Newborough died.


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