Blog of Rights

ICE's Mess in Massachusetts

ICE's Mess in Massachusetts

By Laura Rotolo, ACLU of Massachusetts at 5:42pm

Over the last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has played out a miniature version of its catastrophic national strategy on Secure Communities in my home state.

Acting Locally, Acting Globally: Why We Need International Human Rights Monitors Here at Home

By Laura Rotolo, ACLU of Massachusetts at 10:43am

When you think "human rights monitors" you probably think of teams of experts overseeing elections and investigating war crimes in far-off corners of the world. Well, we could use some of those monitors right here.

In fact, a team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is doing just that this week as they visit immigration detention centers in Arizona and Texas. The IACHR is the human rights body of the Organization of American States, the regional organization of which the U.S. is a member.

You may have read our recent posts on the many issues of concern with our broken immigration detention system. If so, you know that every day around the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds over 30,000 immigrants in "civil detention" in any of over 400 local, state and private jails and denies many of them basic rights such as medical care and lawyers. In Massachusetts, about 800 immigrants fill our local county jails every day as they wait for a decision on their deportation.

Immigrants Like Me

By Laura Rotolo, ACLU of Massachusetts at 4:15pm

(Originally posted on DailyKos.)

I'm an immigrant and I had it easy. When my parents made the heartbreaking decision to leave Argentina because the political and economic situation made life too dangerous and difficult — when they decided that the best they could do for their two small daughters was to leave behind their family, friends and culture, and relocate to the United States — they took a bold and painful step towards the future. They worked tirelessly to give our family the opportunity to thrive. My mother started out as a messenger carrying documents throughout Manhattan. To this day, she knows the city like the back of her hand. My father continues to work 10-12 hour days six days a week driving a truck.

My green card.

But compared to the life immigrants like us face today, we had it really easy. You see, I came to this country with a shiny little document called a green card. Today, immigrants like me have few or no options to come to the United States legally. The wait-times for some visas can be decades long. Today, most people in my family's desperate situation come to the United States illegally.

They come because life in their home country has become unbearable — they cannot feed their children or keep them out of harm's way. What's missing from the immigration debate is the fact that most immigrants don't want to leave their country. Most immigrants don't come because the grass is greener in the U.S. — they come because there is no grass in their home country. They work hard, pay taxes, learn English, adopt American traditions, and do the best they can to make a life for themselves and their family.

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