mercredi, août 13, 2008

How can this happen here?

I didn't know anything about the deaths of some immigrants in American prisons.

What can anyone, on either side (or multiple sides) of the immigration debate say about this story except what happened to this young man deserves an investigation and justice? As I read it (linked), I kept saying to myself that it couldn't happen in an American jail, and that at some point someone would have intervened and gotten this 34 year old medical care.

But they didn't and Mr Ng died, leaving behind a wife and two sons.

Does that fact that prisoners are routinely denied medical care and tortured in many other parts of the world allow us to give this one a pass? All the more reason for us to be appalled that it could happen in the USA-and to try to find a way to give prisoners the humane care they deserve. Humane meaning that prisoners get a basic level of medical attention.

This young man's story is more complicated than the "routine" illegal immigration one. Apparently he overstayed his visa, and didn't appear at a deportation hearing (the notice did get sent to the wrong address). But it underlines the need for us to get a handle on the illegal immigrant issue-and that of overcrowding in US jails.

I have a staunchly conservative friend who has an interesting perspective on immigration. He came over here from Poland years ago, and has made a huge success of himself. He argues that hardworking illegals should not be punished-they are contributing to the US economy.

I really don't know what I think, except that before we can grapple with the macro issue, we need to figure out ways to deal with the prisoners we have in jail already-and try to find ways to continue to improve our justice system so that it can indeed be a model for the world.

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