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Related Categories: U.S. | Police State & Prisons
Maryam Ibrahim Remains in a Texas Jail: Children Without a Country
by Counterpunch (reposted)
Saturday Jan 27th, 2007 10:19 AM
"A man without a country," is what Judge Maryanne Trump Barry called the hapless stowaway, Salim Yassir, who was born in Palestine, exiled to Libya, and jailed in the USA. Four years after foiling Yassir's 2000 attempt to enter the USA, immigration authorities were still claiming they should keep him in jail while they looked for a country that would take him. But Judge Barry (the Donald's older sister) put an end to that legal purgatory in 2004 when she ruled that a man without a country has rights, too. Yassir could just as easily live outside jail while authorities pursued their executive agendas.

In some ways Yassir's story is similar to one now being lived by three Texas families of Palestinian heritage. They are people without a country. From Palestine they have fled to the USA, sometimes through other countries. Immigration authorities have denied them asylum, ordered them deported, and they are being jailed indefinitely in legal purgatory while some country is found to take them.

But the Texas families are not stowaways. They entered the USA with visas and have always lived public lives in their pursuit of asylum in the USA, growing their opportunities and their families along the way. The Ibrahim family, for example, arrived with four children, gave birth to a fifth, and are expecting a sixth. For the Ibrahim children who have lived in Palestine, memories are not so good, and they fear going back to a place where they are subject to so many military assaults.

Maryam Ibrahim was about two years old in 2000 when a gas canister crashed into her Palestinian home, rendering her unconscious for lack of breath. Pleading to USA authorities for asylum in 2002, Maryam's father Salaheddin testified that his little girl was fearful of people in uniform. Yet USA authorities have denied asylum and placed Maryam in jail where family members say she is not allowed to run indoors or go outdoors, and where every night at 10 p.m. she is ordered into a cell separate from where her pregnant mother is being kept. Frequently, Maryam cries. Maryam shares the overnight cell with older sister Rodaina, while younger sister Faten shares a cell with mother Hanan. Family members confirm reports that Hanan is not getting medical attention for her pregnancy, placing Maryam's little brother-to-be at risk.

More
http://counterpunch.org/moses01272007.html
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