|Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 07:37 am: ||
Tent City in Texas Among Immigrant Holding Sites Drawing Criticism
By Spencer S. Hsu and Sylvia Moreno
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 2, 2007; Page A01
The $65 million tent city, built hastily last summer between a federal prison and a county jail, marks both the success and the limits of the government's new policy of holding captured non-Mexicans until they are sent home. Previously, most such detainees were released into the United States before hearings, and a majority simply disappeared.
The new policy has led to a dramatic decline in border crossings by non-Mexicans, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
But civil liberties and immigration law groups allege that out of sight, the system is bursting at the seams. In the Texas facility, they say, illegal immigrants are confined 23 hours a day in windowless tents made of a Kevlar-like material, often with insufficient food, clothing, medical care and access to telephones. Many are transferred from the East Coast, 1,500 miles from relatives and lawyers, virtually cutting off access to counsel.
"I call it 'Ritmo' -- like Gitmo, but it's in Raymondville," said Jodi Goodwin, an immigration lawyer from nearby Harlingen.
An inspector general's report last month on a sampling of five U.S. immigration detention facilities found inhumane and unsafe conditions, including inadequate health care, the presence of vermin, limited access to clean underwear and undercooked poultry. Although ICE standards require that immigrants have access to phones and pro bono law offices, investigators found phones missing, not working or connected to non-working numbers.
"Jones asked Galloway if he thought an invasion of Iran was on the horizon. Galloway was confident that massively opposed public opinion would stop an attack from taking place, unless a staged terror attack carried out by the military industrial complex and blamed on Iran was carried out."