This semester we have been learning about immigration. During one meeting, we watched the film “Lost in Detention” to get background knowledge about the current policy and treatment regarding undocumented immigrants. Currently a federal program called Secure Communities provides an option for local police forces to partner with the federal immigration services (ICE) in order to locate undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes. However, these crimes can be as small as speeding. One woman who was pulled over for this was undocumented, and since she did not have a license, was arrested. She was then deported because of these new policies, leaving her family in the U.S.
Conditions in detention centers were unsafe and inhumane. Female detainees that accused male guards of sexual assault were never taken seriously. Male detainees were physically abused by guards. Even with evidence and testimonies, there was no justice for the detainees. In the typical criminal justice system, there are safeguards to prevent these things from happening. Undocumented migrants have no such safeguards and few protected rights.
So the question remains: Why not just avoid all this and enter legally? Well, legal immigration offers it’s own set of difficulties, as illustrated below.
So, it is clear that legal immigration is not so simple, and that to avoid the suffering associated with detention centers and deportation, more comprehensive immigration reform is needed to solve these problems, including an easier path to legal immigration.