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Thursday, October 7, 2010

AFSC and Politically Active Z (PAZ) Students Remember Immigrants in Detention


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On the first Monday of every month The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization, remembers those who are held in the Denver-Aurora Immigration Detention facility by holding a vigil.  Long time civil rights leader Jennifer Piper makes sure the event is a success and this month the gathering things went especially well. 



Jennifer asks a different organization or cause to head up the vigil and the Politically Active Z Students took the October reigns and ran with the program.  Led by Pedro and with a bugle call from Jeremy, the ceremony began!

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Colorado is a tough enforcer of immigration law.  One does not have to do anything to find himself in immigration detention in Colorado.  Simply being the victim of a traffic stop without the necessary documents if often enough.  Once in custody, the Aurora facility is often the last place undocumented workers rest their heads while on American soil.  Many people, including mothers being separated from their children and children being separated from their communities, find themselves in the private jail. 


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Yes, private jail.  The GEO group smiles all the way to the bank by locking people up for a profit.  The government contracts with them to jail undocumented workers until their cases can be heard.  Tax payers, business owners, families and communities pay the price.  Jennifer, the AFSC and many others think that is wrong.


10 4 10 icesm It is no secret, part of the coercion for the immigrants to waive their rights and sign papers returning them to countries they may no longer know is the unpleasant nature detention presents.  Piper explained the Aurora Facility had recently added beds.  They have made it difficult for “detainees” to hear the protesters holding vigil outside.  It is more difficult to fight the long process of removal defense when one thinks he is waging the battle alone.  That is why PAZ and the those at the vigil made a lot of extra noise this time. 


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It gets worse.  Partly through the efforts of the AFSC, it has come to light ICE operates a series of secret “sub-stations” where undocumented workers are held.  Their conditions mirror that of the conditions in which our most hardened criminals are kept.  That includes children.  Using the system of “sub-stations” people get lost in the system.  Knowing exactly where a person is being held can be difficult.  Most of us thought these kinds of things only happened in Russia.


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Jennifer, the AFSC and other human right’s activists invite you to join the vigil at the Aurora facility.  It is located at 11901 East 30th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80010.  We remain a free society only so long as we expose injustice in our country.  That requires an extra bit of something from all of us.  Isn’t it worth it?  I bet you can make a little noise of your own if you put your mind to it!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this! Just a clarification that children aren't held at the facility in Aurora nor in the "secret" substations. They are oftentimes separated from their parents when their parents are detained.