By Alan Bean
The criminalization of immigration, or “crimmigration” as it is sometimes known, is a recent development. Michelle Fei lays out the basic problem,
The issue that immigrants face is that, now there is this increasing collaboration between the criminal justice system and the deportation system. So, for basically, all kinds of immigrants, including green-card holders, undocumented immigrants, people with visas. This means that once you enter the criminal justice system, often times you are on a fast-track to deportation, usually with no chance of ever coming back to the United States.
There is more crimmigration information packed into this radio program than I have previously discovered in any single source.
Written by Cory Fischer-Hoffman
Under President Obama more than 1 million people have been deported from the United States. We’re told many of those people are criminals who’ve broken more than just immigration law. On this edition, producer Cory Fischer-Hoffman takes a closer look at how immigration and the criminal justice system work together, to detain and deport hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Cory Fischer-Hoffman: Have you ever traveled on Greyhound Bus Before? Do you know the feeling of standing in the station, looking around to see if your bus will be full and hoping that after a smooth and uneventful journey, you will safely arrive to your destination?
In January of 2010, Alex Alvarez boarded a greyhound bus in Lawrence, Kansas and then got off his bus in Orlando to transfer to Immokalee, Florida, but he never arrived to his final destination.
Alex:, I was entering the bus station, and I entered calmly but there was someone who detained me and asked, “where are you going?” I said “to Florida, to work.” and then they asked me for my papers. I didn’t present any documentation and so, they immediately handcuffed me and they took me to a room, and they said, “sorry you can’t travel because you don’t have papers from here.” In this bus station, it was two of us who were detained, because we were the only ones who were immigrants. But, we didn’t commit any crime, absolutely none
Cory Fischer-Hoffman: Alex Alvarez is from Guatemala, and like so many others he left his country in search of way to provide for his family back home. Alex worked in a bakery in Florida for four years and then traveled to Kansas. Since he was unable to find reliable work, he decided to return to Florida and see if he could get his old job back.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement stopped him, solely based on “looking like an immigrant,” Alex said. They handcuffed and arrested him and then took him to an immigrant detention center.
Alex: I was in an immigrant detention center. They asked me a lot of questions, “what’s your name, what is this, what is that?” as you were a criminal, even though, I didn’t do anything. Then they took me to another detention center, where there were more people, and throughout the whole time we were handcuffed. It enrages me to think about how they treat people, I am not a criminal that they should treat me like that, with chains ties around my wrists, ankles and waist. (more…)