Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is circulating a petition to demand answers about the death of Ana Romero, a 44-year-old mother who died at a jail in Franklin County, Kentucky, while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The petition raises questions about Romero's treatment during her detention:
Ana Romero (44 years old) was living and working in Shelbyville cleaning houses in order to support her 92 year-old mother and two grown sons in college in El Salvador.
In January, she was arrested at home and detained by state police for giving federal immigration officials a false identification card, along with a previous immigration-related violation. This type of police action is part of the nation-wide ICE dragnet operation being carried out in places like Shelbyville, Kentucky; Pottsville, Iowa; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Laurel, Mississippi, in which immigrants are being subjected to raids and detentions. These operations have torn families apart, including many U.S. citizens, and has instilled pervasive fear in our communities owing to the terrorizing tactics used by the authorities and the lack of due process afforded the immigrants afterwards. Whether or not you agree with the criminalization of immigrant workers and families who have entered the U.S. without documents, the consequences of the Ana Romero case should touch a nerve. During her nearly 8 month imprisonment in the county jail while awaiting deportation, Ana was distraught and suffered from medical ailments, refusing to eat the food which she told family members “…stinks and there is something wrong with it.”
Shortly before her death, she was placed in solitary confinement. Her jailers have yet to explain why this was done.
KCIRR has been circulating an e-mail with information about how to sign on to the petition.