Friday, April 04, 2008

Ex- ICE Agent Rapes Illegal Immigrant

On Thursday a former immigration agent Wilfredo Vazquez plead guilty to raping a Jamaican woman who was in his custody. Mr. Vazquez was suppose to be transporting his victim from a detention facility in Miami-Dade County to another detention center in Broward County, Florida. The ex-officer also plead guilty for "'placing the woman in fear' during the sexual encounter." By Mr. Vazquez pleading guilty it was recommended by the prosecutors office that he serve a sentence of seven years in prison.

Vazquez's victim was a Jamaican mother of two who had been living in the United States illegally for 12 years. Vazquez was responsible for transporting this women to a transitional detention facility as she waited to be deported back to Jamaica. Once the victim filed a complaint ICE authorities granted her parole. Right now Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) is helping the victim obtain a visa which could lead to her obtaining legal residency.

The thing which disturbs me the most about this story is the ideal that an ICE official would take advantage of a women who had already been through a major ordeal. The victim already had to deal with deportation and being separated from her children, then for a ICE official to take advantage of her sexually is completely inhumane. Just because this women was not a legal citizen does not make it right for her to be abused while in the custody of ICE. When hearing about incidents such as this it reinforces the ideal that our immigration system is failing once again.

What can we do as citizens to change the mistreatment of detainees at the hands of ICE?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Immigration Optimist

I have always found immigration policy to be a something of a Catch-22. If we open up immigration policy it is argued, with fair reason, that we open the flood gates for individuals we do not want walking the streets of our country. In today's terms this is a matter of homeland security and an obstacle for potential terrorist threats. Another aspect of this perspective argues that immigrants will rob hard working Americans of their jobs, undercutting the working class. Pragmatically, the current obsequious immigration gauntlet unnecessary. This article, really a blog, identifies many of the compromises and changes that can and should be made to contemporary immigration policy.

The suggestions in this article focus on the H1-B visa program, which allows for skilled workers to come to the US and work. However, only 65,000 of these visa's are granted annually. Proposed legislation recommends that we increase the annual number of H1-B visa grants to 115,000. A statistic given in the article states that, "(A Duke University study has found that 25% of American technology start-ups were founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs from 1995 to 2005; in addition, 26% of technology start-ups founded by immigrants had CEO’s, presidents, founders or lead researchers from India.)" Through H1-B visa's we can achieve increased economic efficiency and prosperity for all Americans, a point few people would rationally dispute.

This argument can then be shaped in an economic frame. There has been economic growth in many sectors directly correlated and attributed to individuals who immigrated to this country. As these numbers increase, the number of laborers needed to supply the demand of increased wealth and population must also increase. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of economic growth for all socioeconomic classes.

I understand the need for homeland security to protect our country from terrorist threats. However, this should not have a dramatic an effect on the immigration policy. Any immigrant, whether a factory worker or an executive, should be allowed a fair chance to come to this country. If they have proven to be a productive members of society in their home country, why not allow them a chance to contribute to ours.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Children in Detention Centers

This video made by the ACLU shows a detention center used for political asylum seekers and their children in Hutto, Texas. Perhaps just as interesting as the video are some of the viewer comments:

"Not only does the inhumane treatment of innocent families and children in Hutto break an American tradition of protecting individuals from political oppression, it breaks an internationally accepted human rights standard of providing children access to medical and education needs to. This issue is not about immigration. Its about protecting the qualities that make America unique - A belief in human rights." -RichardParker72

"Are these people legal or illegal immigrants? Knowing that they were illegally trying to obtain entry the parents subjected their children to the possibility of Hutto. We, as a nation, can not be parent to all, cannot be responsible for the worlds suffering, and cannot be expected to alleviate it through indiscriminate open borders." Ssing45

What do you think? Should we be detaining children who come to the U.S. with their family members? Is there an alternative?