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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Human Rights > Is ICE Doing the Will of the Administration? If so, More Hard Questions Need to be Asked

Is ICE Doing the Will of the Administration? If so, More Hard Questions Need to be Asked

LatinaLista — With each and every abuse of power that has come to light under this Administration, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that ICE, otherwise known as Immigration Customs and Enforcement, may not be enforcing their duties as they should.

In fact, from reports coming from within immigrant detention facilities, we have to wonder who is supplying the necessary oversight on ICE that it obviously needs.

Take for instance the story of the Hazahza family. The Palestinian family has been held since November 2, 2006 in the Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Facility.

Sisters Suzi (left) and Mirvat Hazahza, with their father, Radi, are among five members of a family detained since November. Authorities allege they ignored deportation orders.
(Source: dallasnews.com)

As ICE likes to do, they rounded up the family in pre-dawn hours and shuffled off the mother and 11-year-old son to the (now infamous) T. Don Hutto facility. The two older girls, 24-year-old Mirvat, 19-year-old Suzi, and their brothers, 23-year-old Hisham and 18-year-old Ahmad, along with, their father, are in Haskell at the detention facility.

ICE claims they arrested the family because they ignored deportation correspondence.

Radi Hazahza, a former banker, brought his family to Irving (Texas) in 2001 on valid visas. He got a job as an auto license inspector and applied for political asylum. The 56-year-old family patriarch argued that he would be killed if he returned to the Palestinian territories because he was branded an Israeli collaborator.

But the political asylum request was denied in 2002. The U.S. government holds that Mr. Hazahza received deportation correspondence two years ago and that he failed to appear for his appointment. The family contends it never received the correspondence, which typically comes by certified mail.

They were subsequently arrested as part of Operation Return to Sender as fugitive aliens, foreigners who ignored orders of deportation.

The mother and youngest son were released from Hutto in February but the rest of the family remains, for lack of a better word, jailed. It doesn’t seem to matter to ICE that one of the children is married to an American citizen and 19-year-old Suzi was to have been married two weeks ago to an American citizen.

ICE has declared the remaining family members to be flight risks – though they obviously thought the mother and 11-year-old weren’t.

What sends up a red flag that ICE needs some oversight when it comes to detaining immigrants are several facts: 1. A federal judge hearing the case for the family as filed by their attorney said he was inclined to release the family but couldn’t because of jurisdiction issues.

2. Last month, the watchdog agency for the Department of Homeland Security concluded that ICE “is not well positioned to oversee the growing detention caseload.”

3. There is mounting evidence that these detention facilites are using immigrants to fill facilities that local communities and Texas state politicians are profiting from.

In an email from Suzi Hazahza’s fiance, he reports “”Suzi has been experiencing extreme pain in her heart, chest area, and left hand accompanied by numbness on the right side of her body.”

Yet, medical care for immigrant detainees is minimal, if any, report friends.

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