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Indybay Feature
Fri Dec 23 2005
Local Man Returns from ICE Detention and Tells of Horrors He Witnessed
Kim Singh Tells Immigrants' Stories of Persecution by ICE
Kim Singh, the Executive Director of the Asian American Public Policy Institute, says, "I bring this to you after being in INS detention for 2 months. I was detained by INS for no specific reason and was slated for deportation to India. While in INS custody I met with other detainees who have been in INS detention for period ranging from a few years to one Sikh detainee who has been in INS limbo for 9 years being shunted form one INS facility to another.... I managed to get released, because I am reasonably articulate and know my rights. I was raising hell when in illegal detention!" More of Singh's story

"I do realize that this is holiday season and while we go shopping and quaffing eggnog, we need to remember what is being done by our Government and the DOJ (Department of Justice) on our behalf. The NY Times sat on the story for over a year before divulging the information about the illegal wiretapping and e-mail snooping our Government has been engaged in , "to keep all of us safe". The story that is not yet out is how legal immigrants are being arbitrary detained by INS (now re-christened ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and abused while in custody."

Some abuses that the inmates face:
  • "Most of the inmates I met with did not speak a word of English. The immigration courts do have translation capabilities, but the jails where the detainees are being housed, lack interpreters or even access to translation services."
  • "Most of the INS detainees are not aware of their rights, or the reasons why they were being deported. I saw legal residents with green cards, signing deportation orders agreeing to be deported to their "home" countries. Countries they had often left over 20 or 30 years ago."
  • "Immigration court does not make public defenders available to detainees...most of these detainees who tend to be people of little or no means, show up in immigration court with no legal counsel and are so dazed and confused, that I saw detainees agree to be deported and sign the deportation order, just because they were tired of the abuse they experienced while in custody."
  • "Medical facilities are denied to the inmates...there are nurses who sell you medicine!! Prescription drugs are denied repeatedly."
  • "Gay inmates get repeatedly raped by other inmates and by officers. I shared a cell with an inmate who told me of (her) harrowing experiences, as (she) was a transgender person. (She) would have been in detention for 10 years this Christmas."
  • "These are detainees who have no money. No money to call anyone, not their families, not their attorneys (if they have them)."
Singh has been trying to support these detainees by collecting orders for Christmas and holiday cards made by them. Read more

Articles based on Kim Singh's work to expose the exploitation of immigrants by hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley have appeared in LaborNotes and the Washington Free Press
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