As we gear up for the March for America in D.C. on March 21, it’s important to remind ourselves what we are marching to Washington for.
An editorial in the New York Times Tuesday argued:
The country needs to confront the [immigration] issue, to lift the fear that pervades immigrant communities, to better harness the energy of immigrant workers, to protect American workers from off-the-books competition. What’s been happening as the endless wait for reform drags on has been ugly.
Today, it got a little bit uglier. According to the New York Times:
When the Obama administration vowed to overhaul immigration detention last year, its promise of more humane treatment and accountability was spurred in part by the harrowing treatment of two detainees who died in the Bush years.
In one case, captured by security cameras in 2008, a Chinese computer engineer was dragged from a Rhode Island immigration jail and mocked by guards as he screamed in pain from undiagnosed cancer and a broken spine. In the other, a Salvadoran detainee held for two years in a California detention center was denied a biopsy for a painful penile lesion, though government doctors suspected the cancer that eventually required amputation of his penis.
But on Wednesday, the administration argued in federal court that the government had no liability for neglect or abuse by private contractors running the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., where the computer engineer was held.
We must continue to demand accountability in our sprawling immigrant detention system. In addition, we must work to pass real immigration reform that creates an ordered, legal process for undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, register, and obtain the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans. Right now, there are millions of workers and families for whom that process does not exist, and so we continue to face a crisis in which employers can arbitrarily exploit workers, families can be separated without notice, and an increasing number of men and women are sent to languish in these unaccountable detention facilities.
If that’s not a reason to hit the streets, I don’t know what is.