May 9, 2008

Film: Jailing Immigrants

Some haunting stories have come out recently about the treatment of detained immigrants. Clouded in secrecy, many immigrants have been caused harm or denied basic care.

"Some non-U.S. citizens detained by the government for violating immigration laws are kept in rat-infested, cramped detention centers, fed noxious food and denied basic hygiene items such as clean socks and underpants." (NPR)
One story from the New York Times is about the death of Boubacar Bah, a tailor from W. Africa. After Mr. Bah overstayed his tourist visa, he was taken into a private immigration detention center. As the result of a possible accident and staff negligence, Mr. Bah died. The details of what happened are very disturbing.

-At 8:00am Mr. Bah collapsed and hit the back of his head on the floor. Intracranial bleeding begins.
-Assuming Mr. Bah was faking his injury, he was written up and put in solitary confinement for yelling and regurgitating on the floor.
-He was locked up all day.
-At 7:10pm a guard noted that “he began to breathe heavily and started foaming slightly at the mouth.”
-The nurse notified by the guard rejected his request to come check on Mr. Bah.
-At 8:00pm it was suggested that Mr. Bah receive a mental health exam in the morning.
-At 10:30pm the nurse noted Mr. Bah’s condition: “unresponsive on the floor incontinent with foamy brown vomitus noted around the mouth.”
-“Just before 11, someone at the jail called 911.
-A few days later Mr Bah died in a hospital.

In Texas some women have been raped at a detention center.

In the midst of all the inhumanity, a film like The Visitor, reminds us that we are not so different and that we all deserve to be treated with respect.

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