America's Voice En Español »
Our immigration system is broken, and if you think that
because you are a citizen this doesn’t affect you, then you should read today’s Associated
Press piece. In it, Suzanne Gamboa describes
how the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike are being violated. The article points to
several examples of how our system is denying citizens basic protections under
The American judicial system deems
everyone innocent until proven guilty and guarantees a fair hearing with a
lawyer – but not when it comes to immigration. Then there are far fewer rights.
And as the system comes under pressure from a flood of new cases, the strain is
One result is that U.S. citizens
arrested as illegal immigrants or deportable residents cannot count on the
legal system as a safety net. The odds are stacked against them. On the basis
of interviews, lawsuits and documents obtained through the Freedom of
Information Act, The Associated Press has documented more than 55 such cases
since 2000, and immigration lawyers count hundreds more.
Press piece goes on to profile some of the US citizens that have been
rounded up and detained and in some cases deported, because they don’t carry
their passposts or birth certificates with them at all times.
On Aug. 16 last year, Juan Manuel
Carrillo Jr. was beginning his shift at the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Mount
Pleasant, Texas, when managers began calling workers to the office. His name
“I went and another group of
people went. We thought it was a drug test. We didn’t think it was
immigration,” Carrillo said in Spanish.
Instead, immigration officials had
his name on a warrant. The sweep for illegal workers was one of five in April
2008 at Pilgrim’s Pride plants across the country. About 400 people were taken
into custody, Pilgrim’s Pride said. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said
300 were arrested.
Carrillo, who was born in San
Diego, was among them. He said he told officers he was a citizen, but his hands
and feet were cuffed and he was put in a van and taken to a detention center in
Tyler, 40 miles away. He only had a driver’s license on him.
Carrillo protested again and told
the driver he was a citizen. The driver told him to shut up.