Could Rep. Polis be an “Honorary Latino”?

July 21st, 2009 · 8 Comments

One issue I have become increasingly concerned about is immigrant detention. Last year I became more aware of the issue having read Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m dying detailing the horrific treatment of her Haitian uncle in an immigrant detention facility in Miami. Then I watched the film, The Visitor, which addressed immigrant detention in NYC. Both creative works made an impression on me so much that I have followed the detention issue. It is timely because much has been made of the growing Latino population in the prisons, and earlier this year, Seneca even wrote about the issue in regards to immigration violations.

There are three Latinos on the House Homeland Security Committee: Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Henry Cuellar, and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. I have been waiting for one of them to make a speech like the one that Rep. Jared Polis made last week on the House Floor. Check it out for yourself here:

As the immigration reform debate heats up, we are starting to hear more about detention reform from Congressional members, including Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s expressing satisfaction of seeing more funds requested for the development of alternatives to detention. I wonder what exactly the alternative to existing detention will be like. The Democrats have already caved into an extension of the controversial 287G program, which deputizes local law enforcement agents to act as immigration officers. This program has emboldened Sheriff Joe Arpaio, aka “The 21st Century Bull Connor” in Arizona.

In April, the NY Times has also reported on the lack of accountability and oversight in immigrant detention facilities, specifically regarding detainee deaths noting that:

“No central body is required to publicly keep track of deaths in custody in the fragmented detention system. No independent inquiry is mandated. The House recently passed a bill that would require states that receive certain federal funds to report all deaths in custody to their attorneys general. But the measure has yet to be taken up in the Senate, where similar legislation stalled last fall.”

I commend Rep. Polis for his remarks regarding detention reform. Now I hope that Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Henry Cuellar, and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan make similar statements. Lives are literally on the line.

Tags: Ben Ray Lujan · Detention · Immigration · Rep. Henry Cuellar · Rep. Loretta Sanchez

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Jul 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Congressman Jared Polis is an impressive public servant. Now that he has fired a shot across immigrant detention policy, let’s see who in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will follow his lead. He was probably so disgusted by the conditions and inhumane treatment provided by these facilities. I guarantee no one from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has even been to one of these facilities and witnessed the abuse. Hopefully he’ll encourage Senator Ted Kennedy to visit and that should get the whole ball rolling.

  • 2 theKaiser // Jul 21, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    It took a gay Jewish freshman Congressman to rail against the inhumane and costly treatment of Latin American immigrants. Not much Christ-like behavior is being exhibited here by all those Christian fundamentalist politicians. And where is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in all this?

  • 3 Anna // Jul 21, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I wish Obama would do something about it. I won’t hold my breath.

  • 4 6monkeyrs // Jul 22, 2009 at 4:40 am

    I spend a lot of time reading blogs, and stories in the internet. I enjoy other people’s opinions.

    For the life of me, I can not honor a man that would use a jailed convicts for a sorry excuse to promoting immigration reform. Using “law abiding citizens….in detention” in the same paragraph.

    I think that immigration is being misrepresented and should stop. My uncle still lives in Mexico, and is waiting for a wages to improvement to continue to work in the United States. He waited for his paper work to be correct and got his work visa, and to come the United States and be disappointed at people like Congressman Polis. My uncle works hard like my parents who too are from Mexico and now are permanent residents in the United States. All three abide by the law of their time and abide by those and other laws.

    Those same laws affect this people Mr. Polis talks about. He is going to the people that choose to ignore the laws, and come to United States. Not only that, but continue to ignore law that gave them the “Minor” infractions that catches them.

    Why is that we are willing to let go of this laws for sake of people like Mr. Polis is speak of, why not fight to keep the laws, and keep true latino’s like my parents and now me and in the future my kids.

    My brothers and sisters too make fun of me when I speak this way, but I laugh at them when they complain they are not making enough to support their families.

  • 5 Joe Citizen // Jul 26, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I’m waiting for the US to appologize to my Irish Great-Grandparents for the harsh treatment they recieved at Ellis Island. Or for the City of New York to pay reperations for my great-uncle who was beaten to death at the dock as he arrived in the US. How about some pay out becasue they didn’t give my family free education and food when they arrived in America. When do I get my goodies and an appology for the harsh working conditions, no free health care and no overtime pay my family had to endure? When do I get my $$$ and grovelling from the current crop of politicos that my poor ancestors had to put up with being profiled and discriminated against? When will justice be served and a light shed on the lack of Gaelic speaking public servents when my family arrived in the US? How come the US didn’t build a bridge back to Ireland so when my family got into a buggy accident and had no insurance they could flee to their homeland? I wish their had been a Irish Legal Defense and Eduation Fund for my people. :(

  • 6 El Cholo // Jul 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Isn’t it funny that there are numerous WASP and Black Congressional politicians in support of the Dream Act, but only one member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in support of it? What does that tell you about the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Sanchez sisters who are only Hispanic on election days? And now you have a freshman Gay Jewish Congressional representative from Colorado taking up the cause of immigration reform. What does that tell you about the humanity and priorities of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus?

  • 7 Wise Latino // Jul 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    It tells me that they see the poll numbers and realize that AMERICANS are not in the mood to keep giving shelling out. It tells me that this country realizes ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION is costing too much and robbing ALL of us of quality of life. I guess a better question is….what does it tell you?

  • 8 More Deaths in Immigrant Detention // Aug 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    […] Security Committee, and I notice that she is not on the co-sponsor list. Congressman Polis, who we noted has already spoken out on immigrant detention last month, is co-sponsoring this […]

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