Monday, August 22, 2011

Crimmigration: The Dark Side

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, with the ACLU and several other civil rights organizations, have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the practice of shackling undocumented immigrants appearing before immigration court. The Huffington Post reports:

According to the lawsuit, the overwhelming majority of prisoners who show up in immigration courts have no violent criminal history. The lawsuit seeks to compel the Department of Homeland Security to make individual determinations about shackling rather than have a blanket policy. DHS officials declined to comment Wednesday.

This practice, and others, are an example of the false dichotomy between criminal and immigration matters. Make no mistake - these two issues are closely interrelated, as the financing of Arizona's SB 1070 by private companies demonstrates. Shackling is a distressing practice, and we'll be following this lawsuit closely.

Extra credit: As always, the question if one of incrementalism versus radicalism: Is the call to "stop treating undocumented immigrants as criminals" equivalent to a call that perpetuates treating criminals the way we have been treating them? Hmmmm.

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