Friday, August 19, 2011

Undocumented immigrants and NC

NC House Speaker Thom Tillis on undocumented immigration:

Tillis said he understood the motives of many people who come to the United States illegally, especially people who are fleeing drug gang violence in Mexico, but supported immediate deportation of any immigrant convicted of breaking the law.

He also understood the need to control immigration, and said that ultimately it is the responsibility of the federal government. At the same time, he said farmers depend on the immigrant labor, and Tillis noted Georgia passed such restrictive laws that many produce farmers couldn’t get any workers into the fields in time and their harvests rotted.

This should also be taken in the context of the Obama administration's decision to focus on criminals and to review 300,000 cases and possibly even give work permits to those without criminal records.  A focus on criminals is a welcome step.  From a more local perspective, I am also glad to see that the Republican leadership in North Carolina is taking a realistic approach to the issue.  Poorly thought out legislation leaves you in the position of Georgia, where the legislature did not even bother doing a study about the consequences, and so scrambled to do so after the fact when those consequences became more obvious.


Defensores de Democracia 11:53 AM  

NYT : The joint government of Nashville and Davidson County tortured a nine month pregnant lady, also during child birth labor and postpartum. The terrorized mom got a $200,000 award for the torture she received.

The situation was so brutal that the labor and delivery nurses were crying. Later, when she was taken back to the jail, she developed infections in both breasts because the officers at the Davidson County Jail (in Nashville) would NOT allow her to have a breast pump.

The arresting officer, Tim Coleman, was a local school board candidate who ran on "ANTI-Latino" and "ANTI-Immigrant" rhetoric in support of the 287(g) program.

Celebrating the 4th of July in Jail for driving without a license and giving child birth !

New York Times
Immigrant, Pregnant, Is Jailed Under Pact
July 20, 2008

Some excerpts :

It started when Juana Villegas, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was nine months pregnant, was pulled over by a police officer in a Nashville suburb for a routine traffic violation.

Juana Villegas and 2-week-old son in her lawyer’s office Thursday in Nashville. Mother and son had been separated for two days.

By the time Mrs. Villegas was released from the county jail six days later, she had gone through labor with a sheriff’s officer standing guard in her hospital room, where one of her feet was cuffed to the bed most of the time. County officers barred her from seeing or speaking with her husband.

After she was discharged from the hospital, Mrs. Villegas was separated from her nursing infant for two days and barred from taking a breast pump into the jail, her lawyer and a doctor familiar with the case said. Her breasts became infected, and the newborn boy developed jaundice, they said.

Lawyers and immigrant advocates say Mrs. Villegas’s case shows how local police can exceed their authority when they seek to act on immigration laws they are not fully trained to enforce.

“Had it not been for the 287G program, she would not have been taken down to jail,” said A. Gregory Ramos, a lawyer who is a former president of the Nashville Bar Association. “It was sold as something to make the community safer by taking dangerous criminals off the streets. But it has been operated so broadly that we are getting pregnant women arrested for simple driving offenses, and we’re not getting rid of the robbers and gang members.”

Mrs. Villegas, who is 33, has lived in the United States since 1996, and has three other children besides the newborn who are American citizens because they were born here.

So when Mrs. Villegas went into labor on the night of July 5, she was handcuffed and accompanied by a deputy as she was taken by ambulance to Nashville General Hospital at Meharry. Cuffs chaining her foot to the hospital bed were opened when she reached the final stages of labor, Mrs. Villegas said.

“I felt like they were treating me like a criminal person,” Mrs. Villegas said, speaking in Spanish in a telephone interview. The phone in her room was turned off, and she was not permitted to speak with her husband when he came to retrieve their newborn son from the hospital on July 7 as she returned to jail, she said.

As Mrs. Villegas left the hospital, a nurse offered her a breast pump but a sheriff’s deputy said she could not take it into the jail, Mrs. Villegas said.

“Whether this lady was documented or undocumented should not affect how she was treated in her late pregnant condition and as she was going through labor and bonding with her new baby,” Mr. Ozment said.

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