WWJD: Who Would Jesus Detain?
Monday’s New York Times has a front page, above-the-fold, top-right story about how immigrants die in custody, some being held for nothing more than visa violations. It centers on Boubacar Bah, a 52-year-old tailor form Guinea who overstayed his tourist visa. Bah fell in prison, hit his head, and wound up in a coma. He had a skull fracture and multiple brain hemorrhages, and died four months later.
Between January 2004 and November 2007 there were sixty-six known deaths among those in immigration custody. We now know this only because the New York Times utilized the Freedom of Information Act to obtain this information and, as the paper states, “it reflects a reality that haunts grieving families like his: the difficulty of getting information about the fate of people taken into immigration custody, even when they die.”
Boubacar Bah with his first wife, Dalanda, and their elder son, Amadou Talibé Bah, in Guinea before Mr. Bah came to the United States in 1998.
Mr. Bah’s relatives never saw the internal records labeled “proprietary information – not for distribution” by the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the New Jersey detention center for the federal government. The documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth.
The story goes on to reveal that detainees are not treated properly for medical conditions, relatives are not informed of the deaths of loved ones in custody, and they often have to fight to get that tragic information.Click here for reuse options!
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