Sunday, August 18, 2019

Unequal Outcomes: Most ICE Detainees Held In Rural Areas Where Deportation Risks Soar


I became involved in immigration law in the 1980s in a class action lawsuit challenging the transfer of Salvadoran and Guatemalan asylum seekers from the San Francisco Bay Area, where they could secure pro bono representation and have families and friends visit, to remote locations in El Centro, California, Florence, Arizona, and Oakdale Louisiana.  Consequently, I was not surprised to learn of an NPR analysis finding that 52% of ICE detainees are held in rural areas, and that that number is rising, possibly because of lower labor and land costs. That makes it harder for an immigrant to see their families — and less likely to get legal aid, which in turn makes it much more likely that they will leave the country. And that can have deadly consequences: Jimmy Aldaoud died two months after U.S. officials deported him to Iraq, even though he didn’t speak Arabic, had severe mental and physical health issues, and had lived in the U.S. since 1979 when he was 1 year old.


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