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Web Letter

I have been working in immigration litigation for more than twelve years and find this article extremely misleading. There are abuses in every system, but this article fails to address the tens of thousands of aliens who are detained every year and who are treated fairly and given incredible opportunities to prove their right to remain in the United States, at the expense of the government. I worked on many detention cases with people who not only did not deserve to be in the United States but who had committed multiple crimes and were released pending the outcome of their removal proceedings. I am a regular reader of The Nation. But my years of experience tell me that your coverage lacks both true knowledge of and a balanced approach to the subject. It has cast a whole different light on your coverage of the topics where I do not have the inside track, and have to rely on your expertise. It does not inspire confidence.

Alison Igoe

Washington, DC

Feb 9 2010 - 1:06pm

Web Letter

What a load of horsecrap.

I have been in one of those 186 secret Ice Castle prisons.

It is a little sub-office with about six desks in it. And it is so secret that the ICE office is listed in the lobby directory. And so secret that when you type in ICE and the city it is in, it comes up as the first hit on the Google search.

I would guess you could probably cram about fifty people in there. Of course, then the ICE agents wouldn't have anywhere to sit or work.

Perhaps there really are some secret prisons out there. But conflating these little sub-offices with some vast secret prison system makes you look dishonest and untrustworthy.

Noro Watanabe

Anytown, CA

Dec 28 2009 - 7:18pm

Web Letter

Commentators beware! It is only a short step between secretly detaining and imprisoning suspected illegals and so doing to American citizens whom the Fascist-in-Chief regards as a threat.

Perhaps I should take my own advice?

Alvin D. Hofer

St. Petersburg, FL

Dec 28 2009 - 6:18pm

Web Letter

What did I do wrong in my younger years to get myself in trouble when I am coming to America next year? Hitting 50, I--male, Caucasian, Christian, that is; baptized and believer of many, many gods, such as a coffee-god, a chocolate-god and a sun-god--plan to make a trip to Hawaii, and have no wish or need whatsoever getting lost inside some of those Kafkaesque prisons that ICE is in charge of.

So yes, I wrote some stuff taking sides against the United States, ergo, believing the new and somehow global enemy of not only the US but of Europe and Australia as well is not that big an enemy we think it is. First of all, what has the West (here: Western Europe and all satellites originating from it) done to be Public Enemy Number One for a lot of Arabic/Muslim states seems to be the wrong question: what have they done to win their harts?

Let us put things in perspective here: first of all we robbed them blind! First the Ottoman Empire, colonials in their own right, got kicked out of Northern Africa and the Middle East, only to stay there way to long, busily redrafting the maps and running the show. Fertile land, slavery, servitude--the fertile land for the new bosses, slavery and servitude for the natives (sorry for this rather boring story line, but, as your Mark Twain has stated earlier, the potential gains are truly phenomenal).

Ah, and then oil popped up from the sand, the Holy Sand one might say, and took hold over what somehow still could be read (with some fair amount of wishful thinking) as developing some underdeveloped peoples. Then they, mostly ghastly Arabs, had the bloody nerve to form the OPEC... big mistake! Since then the shit hit the fan, big-time. What do I fear most: terrorism, some bombs going off somewhere, at random almost, or state terrorism, with every greedy state apparatus pulling strings behind the scene? Well, I don't see any reason to believe our Western governments with a track record that long and history books that are full of criminal acts not to take the other side in this: we all had this tiny thing called terrorism coming because we, with all our coffee-, chocolate- and sun-gods deserved it.

See us flying towards that sun, in planes more expensive then a lot of tiny and poor counties can dispose of, with all our wealth on our doorsteps (cars, fueled by our Seven Sisters), inside our houses (heated and/or cooled by our Seven Sisters and a few stepsons, GAZPROM to name but one), and still those Westerners have the nerve to talk about human rights, which only can put in place with bellies and fridges stockpiled well into to future.

Which brings me to another problem we, oops, the US have to face: how is this ICE going to fend off the Chinese, another people with some bones to pick with us? Aren't those Chinese by far more dangerous then those relatively few hysteric fanatic religious fools, or what? Now we all know the US has approximately 1 percent of its population incarcerated, how is the ICE gonna get rid of those Chinese when they are gonna buy up large pieces of the US, and all of that secretly?

victor crebolder

Bois le Duc, Netherlands

Dec 28 2009 - 2:55pm

Web Letter

No one can escape the gaze of ICE. They are everywhere.

I live a few miles from the New Brunswick border. There are now so many border agents they are tripping over one another. Each time the bus arrives in Houlton, at least two ICE vehicles are waiting. They actually park so as to block the bus (in case someone tries to hijack it?). The ICE agents ask each passenger if they are an American citizen. God help you if you have dark skin or a "funny" accent. Note that the bus doesn't cross the border--it runs from Bangor to Caribou.

Periodically ICE sets up roadblocks on a remote section of the Interstate. They stop everyone to ask, "Are you a citizen?"

ICE also sets up roadblocks on the Interstate near Augusta. These are usually in the fall, when they might nab migrant workers heading to the apple orchards.

There are rumours that ICE is now using drones to watch the border in our area. We haven't heard whether the drones are armed only with cameras or with something more lethal.

Last year I made a cross-country trip on Amtrak. The train stopped in Buffalo in the middle of the night. The ICE agents came aboard and looked everyone over (except the first-class passengers, presumably). The train was held up for an hour while several passengers were arrested and hauled off to some "detention" facility. It was like waking up in the middle of an old black-and-white movie where all the passengers try to look inconspicuous while the guards are demanding, "Papers please!"

I know it doesn't matter anymore, since might makes right, but what gives ICE the authority to stop people at random, with no probable cause, and start asking questions? What happens if we refuse to answer?

Jim Ellsworth

Littleton, ME

Dec 24 2009 - 10:59pm

Web Letter

We have now apparently arrived at the tipping point to being a police state: a state governed by corporate interests beyond all humane and human considerations.

James L. Pinette

Caribou, ME

Dec 20 2009 - 6:01am

Web Letter

There is no doubt something illegal is going on with these operations, but I don't think it is the ordinary immigration situation. Napolitano is supposed to be in favor of immigration reform, and just being illegal or undocumented does not require the FBI or counterterrorism types. If the DEA is involved, drugs are an aspect of their operation. Narco terrorism in Mexico could bring in counterterrorism people. These operation could be "ordinary" terrorism investigations that do not involve Hispanics.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 18 2009 - 4:11pm

Web Letter

I was happy to see your article addressing this issue and unfortunately had a family member "disappear" at the Cary, North Carolina, "vortex" of ICE. You can be sure I contacted my NC representatives in December 2006 regarding the treatment our family received.

Sadly, all things political have a $ sign attached to them and this is no exception. Follow the money and you will see that our freedom and decency as well as our constitutional rights to family unity have been purchased by the Prison Industrial Complex. The absurd result is we have illegal immigrants living at the margins of society now being "guarded" by poor, rural, predominantly black employees also living at the margins of society. The new detention facilities like Stewart in Lumpkin are staffed by people who would otherwise be in the bread line had not the DHS stepped in and awarded a contract to their community to house the most vunerable population in our society.

Regardless of how DHS "feels" about illegal immigrants, many are also the wives, husbands and children of US citizens. It is a slap in the face to all of us to have a government agency swoop up and virtually kipnap a family member.

Sergi Sheplovich

Cary, NC

Dec 18 2009 - 3:12pm

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