Thursday, February 28, 2008

Alarming news

This week's issue of the New Yorker was one of those where most every article is great. I greatly enjoyed Calvin Trillin's super well written account of racial unrest in Long Island; I finally understood why me and math do not get along. I don't think my brain has that part where the math instinct is supposed to be (instead there lies my endless craving for Japanese Mexican peanuts). But I found it very interesting that multiplication, which is apparently one of the more verbal math functions, does come more easily to me than substraction or my dreaded foe, division. That article ruled.
But the one that made my jaw drop in anger and amazement was Margaret Talbot's excellent piece about the Hutto immigrant detention center in Texas which is basically a jail in which illegal aliens and their families live supposedly while waiting to clear their status.
I don't know why there isn't more of an outrage in this country about fucking Michael Chertoff and the fucking Department of Homeland Security, which should both disappear come November. I hope that when the Democrats win the Presidency, they will take a long hard look at the human rights disaster that the Bush administration has unleashed with this department and they will undo the damage. It's a pity that the article is not available online, but in short, the Bush Administration pays a private prison company 34 million dollars a year to run Hutto, a former jail, in which illegal immigrants are detained WITH THEIR CHILDREN, some for over five months. Until the ACLU sued their ass, this place in Texas was more suited for hardened criminals than for families, which were treated by employees as if they were maximum security risks, including the babies. Even the children had to wear prison uniforms, the families were living in cells with open toilets, the kids had school one hour a day. This particular prison company is owned by well-connected Southern politicians who, apparently disgruntled with the fact that they can't own slaves anymore, are now happy to profit from the private prison business, paying their employees less than than public prisons and even offering stock! (Satan's -- Dick Cheney to you -- own son in law is a lobbyist for this company).
Who in their right mind would buy shares of private prisons? You buy stock and pray for crime to rise? This detention center was on the brink of closing when it struck a deal with the government to make it a detention facility for immigrants instead, many of them who are actually seeking political asylum. Hutto is in a shithole town where there are no other jobs to be had. So people there think it's okay to keep children incarcerated as long as they can make a living off of them.
This is what Bush means by compassionate conservatism, people: they think they are Florence Nightingale because they are keeping the families together in jail instead of sending the children to foster homes, while the bureaucracy decides what to do with these immigrants. The reality is, they pander to those people who see illegal immigrants like common criminals and who just want them out of their sight, no matter what. Racists, in a word. Talbot mentions that a catch and release program is much less expensive and it works really well. After all, the immigrants want to stay here and thus they are on their best behavior. But this is not business, so we have shameful, debased, inhuman outrage instead.
This is an outrage on the level of the Japanese internment camps of WWII, but we don't hear about it.

By the way nobody at Hutto is a Mexican, because those just get sent right back across the border. Luckily for them.

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