That tells me that being shuttled away, after 24 hours, without seeing an attorney or even knowing where your family is, surrounded by barbed wire, some of these folks may not have made knowing and voluntary waivers of their right to counsel. Some may not even be “illegal” once their situation is properly examined with adequate due process. What is due process? Reminder: Notice and a chance to be heard.
What did the pro bono attorney brave enough to represent these folks have to say? Read on:
“We’re happy,” said Harvey Kaplan , one of the attorneys representing the detainees before Stearns.
“It’s a beginning. This is the first time the judge has said we should have access to these people. It implies that maybe people didn’t exercise their options in a knowing way.”
Marc Raimondi, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said his agency is “moving quickly” to comply with Stearns’s order.
Mind you, Marc Raimondi, the ICE man who speaks for ICE had this to say:
“ICE is and remains committed to the due process of all immigration-status violators in ICE custody,” he said. “It’s important to remember that the illegal aliens arrested during the New Bedford enforcement action have always had access to legal materials, legal services, and their consulates.”
I happen to know, personally, that what ICE man Raimondi had to say is not true. In fact, I happen to believe it is a complete and utter LIE. Why? Because I did volunteer for one morning doing bail interviews with some of these folks, from the New Bedford raid, in their own language. None of them had any prior access or access to attorneys or “legal materials” in that Rhode Island detention center, at least as far as I could tell. Could I be wrong? Well, sure. But I do tend to trust my own eyes and ears before trusting Iceman Raimondi.
And a few other reminders:
Stearns March 9, 2007 order [online as an adobe .pdf]:
The March 9, 2007 Order by Judge Stearns
I did not find a new order online dated 4/6/07 – so stay tuned. It will be posted once it is available.
There is some additional information in the Boston Herald:
Bernard J. Bonn III, an attorney for the detainees, said the judge may be disenchanted by the government’s haste in ordering the mostly indigenous Central American factory workers to leave the country.
“I think he was troubled by the government not being more flexible in this,” Bonn said.
At the emergency hearing Friday, Mark Grady, an assistant U.S. attorney, argued that Massachusetts had limited bed space to hold detained immigrants and their removal was not meant to manipulate the process of deporation.
“Instead of those in New Bedford, you’d simply have the next 250 aliens in Massachusetts shipped to Texas,” Grady said.
Stearns’ order also requires the government to turn over a list of all names and locations of immigrants held outside of Massachusetts who have voluntarily agreed to deportation. The ruling also requires the government to allow lawyers to meet with those detainees to make sure they fully understand their rights.
It is one thing when my government acts to “protect me”; it is another when ICE acts as a bully and due process is denied, children are placed at risk, and the members of the same family sent to three different states.
While I realize “teaching civics in schools” will come too late for the Yahoos who think of citizenship as their property, not as the result of how our Constitution is written, lets start with civics – and then look at the more toxic aspects of Globilization run wild, not humiliate and destroy hard working families and traumatice their children when they are only doing what my ancestors did – looking for a better life for themselves and their children.