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Latino Groups Banding Together to Raise Awareness of ICE Abuses

LatinaLista — The United States’ global reputation as being a World Power who sets the standard for other countries when it comes to championing the human rights of the less fortunate has officially been unmasked by a Mexican named Jorge Bustamante.

UN Inspector Jorge Bustamante

Bustamante, a distinguished professional who served as president of a Mexican college, is also an independent United Nations inspector on immigrant rights. He’s on a three-week tour to investigate immigrant issues in the United States, most notably conditions at immigrant detention facilities. His findings will be the basis of a report he is to present to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council.

Yet, Bustamante has been getting mixed signals from Washington.

On the one hand, State Department officials are telling him he has free access to visit wherever he chooses. On the other hand, ICE, who is responsible for overseeing the detention facilities, denies him access only hours before he is scheduled to visit.

It happened on May 7 at the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas where women and children are basically incarcerated and subjected to emotional abuse from some prison guards.

And it happened this week at New Jersey’s Monmouth County Jail where the same stories of unnecessary harsh and abusive treatment are being reported.

For an Administration that has manipulated and used UN inspectors to their benefit in the past, this current behavior is not surprising.

It is extremely triste (sad) that we have allowed a select group of people to ruin our international reputation and flagrantly abuse their power, but it is unforgivable to stand idly by and only listen to the cries of abused men, women and children, happening on our soil, next door to our communities, and not raise an objection.

If patriotism means anything to us, it should mean safeguarding our heritage as a compassionate, open and fair nation where people should be treated with dignity.

Though many of Latina Lista readers from South America will argue that the US has never been that role model for their countries, it is an image that until 7 years ago was still true to a great extent on this side of the border.

In browsing some other blogs the other day, I came across a challenge, if you will, in a blog written by someone named James McGovern. This person was writing about education but his statement easily applies to this situation too:

If we are to save America, we have to figure out how to wake up the Hispanic population and get them to learn how to become more outraged…

Well, when it comes to imprisoning and mistreating our Mexican and Latin American cousins, familia o no, the outrage that Mr. McGovern wishes to see in all of us Latinos is finally simmering to a boil.

Advance word tells Latina Lista that tomorrow LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), the national Latino organization, will hold a press conference in San Antonio to announce they are joining Amnesty International, Children and Families for Humane Treatment Alliance, the Council on Islamic Relations and a few other Dallas-based organizations in staging a vigil outside the T. Don Hutto facility on June 23.

Where is the National Council of La Raza, or the GI Forum or the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund the many other local, state and national Latino organizations whose own communities have been hit with these immigration raids and the carting off of parents and children to detention facilities?

Why are not more of us outraged?

Why are not more of us speaking out?

Why don’t more of us care?

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