Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Legal Residents, Illegally Detained, Need Help -- and You Can Help Them!!

I've been following a most disturbing story concerning the arrest and incarceration (without charge or trial, not even a hearing, so far) of Bella Maryanovsky, whose only offense against Truth, Justice and The American Way seems to have been walking into an Immigration office to renew her Green Card papers.

UPDATE: She's been plucked!

I kid you not; this is very sick and very serious. I know about it through Larisa Alexandrovna, former reporter/editor with RAW STORY and now their Managing Editor. Larisa has been a very good friend to this nearly frozen blogger over the years and it's difficult for me not to care what happens to her and her family. And Bella is Larisa's cousin.

So I have a semi-personal interest in this and it's tearing me up; I can't imagine what happens to close friends and family when something like this hits them. And I find myself wondering about all the other people who are in the same position as Bella, except of course for the unfortunate fact that they forgot to have a cousin who manages a major news gathering website.


If you haven't been following the story these links will get you up to speed:

The RAW STORY report of Bella's arrest:

September 28:
'Operation Return to Sender' stumbles

Previous nearly frozen posts on this topic:

October 1:
Think It Can't Happen Here? Think Again! It's Already Happening!!

October 2:
'Please Call Everyone, Before She Dies In That Hell Hole'

October 6:
Hearing Scheduled For Bella Maryanovsky

And now for the news

I wish I could answer all your questions but I can only tell you what I know; and my knowledge consists of the following two messages from Larisa as posted at Democratic Underground.

From last Friday (October 6):
Hey all, first off, thanks for all of your support. The latest is worse than I thought and I need to correct an error. Apparently ICE told Bella and her family that they were moving her to Krome, but somewhere during transport they took her to the Monroe detention facility, which is worse, because it is not an immigration detention center, but a criminal detention center.

During transport, bella was shackled and forced to lay on the floor of the van. She was taunted by her drivers (wait till I get their names) who said things like "your lawyer fought hard for you, and then he dropped your case" and "the judge was going to let you go home today, but too bad" or something like that. I am getting this all second-hand, but that is roughly what was said to her. They knew her lawyers name and particulars, which leaves us to wonder how drivers got a hold of her file. In any case, sometime between them leaving for Krome and arriving for Monroe, they learned that Krome had become far too overcrowded because of recent raids.

They have now given her 1 of 4 medications, but not the other three. Her legs continue to swell as are her knees. She is in low spirits and crying a great deal. She is frightened.

Today, for Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays they would not give her any prayer books or let her see a rabbi.

She is being held in a large cell with 50-80 women (i don't have the exact number), who are all convicted of various crimes, including murder.

That is the latest. But as bad as Krome was, at least she may have seen an immigration judge. At Monroe, she is simply locked up. Tomorrow will be three weeks since she was detained without charge. The family is getting desperate as her need for meds is getting much stronger.

Thank you for all of your support. I will keep you posted, if I don't go batty first.
And this from today:
She is still being held, over a month now, no charges. She is at Monroe, which is not an immigration detention facility. It is a criminal facility. She has still gotten only 1 of her 4 heart medications and is not doing well. The family spent the weekend near the facility in order to be able to visit her.

Per my last update, she finally got a hearing for Oct, 16. So we wait. That said, there is another new twist in this. It appears that ICE is thinking of moving her to Atlanta, GA (along with some other women), before her hearing. I don't know why, so I cannot explain this madness. But if they move her out of state, then she will have to get a new attorney and the family will either have to move near the area or visit her only once a month. And if they move her to Atlanta, there is no word on when she will be given another hearing. So the goal now is to stop the move by putting pressure on local elected officials and members of Congress, as well as ICE and the MSM to cover this.

She tells us that there are women in there who are being deported who have kids. One woman in particular, who as a legal resident was busted with pot when she was younger. It was roughly twenty years ago, but she was scooped up in this and is being deported to Costa Rica, while her kids have been put into foster homes. Perhaps this is a new version of the Handmaiden's tale, I simply don't know. But to take the children, as though they had a right, and deport a legal resident, seems a bit like selective adoption. I may just be tired, but I cannot make sense of this.

Please, I beg you, please fight for these detainees who are American residents, some spending their entire life in this country, who are being picked up without charge, detained without charge, denied medical treatment, tormented, and having their children stolen from them. And for all of this supposed deportation, where the hell are the records of people being actually deported? I mean are we just saying we are going to deport them, but are actually stuffing them in detention facilities?

We must fight for these people, for Bella, or all of them. If we do not, who will fight for us, should it ever come to our own future nightmare?
Please help those of us who are making noise on behalf of Bella and all the others.

If we don't stand up for people like Bella, who will stand up for people like us?

Some suggestions follow. But please be creative.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Office of the Chief Counsel
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
333 S. Miami Avenue, Suite 200
Miami, Florida 33130

Office of Detention and Removal
Field Office Director, Miami
7880 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138
Phone: 305-762-3622

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Toll-free at (888) 671-4091 or (407) 872-7161.
Senator Nelson has special lines for life-threatening problems (and this is one!): 407-872-7161 or 888-671-4091

The Miami Herald
One Herald Plaza
Miami, FL 33132
Phone: 305-350-2111 or 1-800-HERALD5 (1-800-437-2535)
Or contact them through their web page.

The Sun Sentinel
Send an email to the Editor, Earl Mauker and ask him to cover this story, and/or contact The Help Team and ask for their assistance.

Contact Members of Congress, especially those in Florida (such as Robert Wexler and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, or find contact info for your Senator or Representative here.)

Human Rights Organizations, such as ACLU: Here's the ACLU Florida web page. And here are some ways that you can contact the people who might be able to help:

Executive Director: Howard Simon
4500 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 340
Miami, FL 33137
Phone: 786-363-2700
Fax: 305-576-1106
E-mail: aclufl@aclufl.org

Northwest Florida Office:
ACLU Northwest Florida
PO Box 12723
Pensacola, Florida 32591-2723
Phone: 850-429-9128

Legislative Office:
Larry Helm Spalding
Legislative Staff Counsel
ACLU 314 West Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301-1608
Phone: 850-425-1050
Fax: 850-425-5097
E-mail: LarryACLU@aol.com

West Central Florida Office:
P.O. Box 18245
Tampa, FL 33679-8245
Phone: 813-254-0925

Major Media Outlets
There's plenty of good contact information here.