Thursday, March 06, 2008

Abu Ghraib In Texas - Children Jailed, Parents Seperated - Their Crime? Seeking Asylum.

From the descriptions of the facility it is Abu Ghraib right here in the Lone Star State. I am talking about a little know dirty secret here in Texas, the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas. Hutto, is a privately run prison that contracts to the Us Immigration Service and houses families awaiting immigration hearings. These are people who came to the United States seeking political asylum, many of them are families with children, and we have them locked up in a jail.
A recent story in the New Yorker details the nightmare of an Iranian family who fled Iran after their father was caught photocopying pages of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. His journey started when he escaped Iran and traveled to Canada. In Toronto he waited for his wife and children. After they were threatened with torture, they too fled and joined him in Toronto. They stayed there for a few years and even had a child who became a natural born Canadian citizen.

Everything seemed fine until the Canadian government denied their application for political asylum, and the family was deported to Iran. There the husband was imprisoned and tortured for over a month. The family paid a smuggler to get him out using false documents. They were returning to Canada when the flight they were on was diverted to Puerto Rico. One of the plane’s passengers had a heart attack and they had to land.

That’s where American officials figured out that the families documents were fake and so they applied for political asylum in the US. From there the real nightmare began. In Taylor, Texas the family was incarcerated in a medium security prison run by Correction Corporation of America. The mother and father were held in separate cells and the children were put in another. They could not touch or visit each other except through a glass wall by telephone. The cells are bare concrete with metal beds and the members of the family and other detainees are kept locked up for 12 hours at a time with numerous bed-checks and other harassments.

The children were not allowed to have stuffed animals, crayons, pencils, or pens in their cells. And they were not allowed to take the pictures they had made back to their cells and hang them up. Essentially they were treated like hardened criminals.

If you have the stomach, you can read the rest of the story at The New America Foundations website here.

Now my take on this crap. This is what we get when we trade liberty for security. The statue of Liberty might as well be torn down and sold for scrap. That poem at its base is a lie now. Emma Lazarus must be rolling in her grave. For those who don’t know it, here it is. Read it and weep for what we have become.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden

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