Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Uncle Sam treats detained non-citizens

Anyone who immigrates to another country is taking risks, as they often have few or no real rights. Although it does not excuse Japan for its polices---the bandwagon "everyone does it" nonsense---the US has become increasingly hostile to immigration. Should one be detained by US immigration at the border, he/she has entered a no-man's land in which there are no constitutional rights.

The Washington Post has a series on some of the abuses, neglect, and incompetence in the US system which has resulted in the death of a number of detainees. This is bound to occur when a bureaucracy is responsible for ensuring people are treated decently. After all, it is not likely that anyone in a position of authority will have to accept personal responsibility for anything. Just go before Congress and say that "We're trying" (while they're dying). Will the public care enough to force substantial changes? One wonders. Uncle Sam does not. Just a small example:

Last year, the Arizona State Board of Nursing heard that nurses at Eloy [a federal immigrant detention facility] were being required, without enough training, to take the chest X-rays that new detainees are supposed to get to check for tuberculosis. The board sent ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] a terse, two-sentence letter. "Nurses are not radiologists," it said. "Taking X-rays is out of the scope of practice for a nurse, and a nurse who does so is violating the Nurse Practice Act and will be subject to discipline on his/her license." The response from Washington: "Nurses working in federal government facilities are not subject to state licensing requirements."

I suppose little more can be expected for immigrants---look at how the some members of military have to live in in substandard slum-like housing on posts and bases in the US after returning for war. Seems like military housing is back in the Carter era again.

The most recent Washington Post article is here.

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