Sunday, October 1, 2006

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

Bella Maryanovsky, a legal resident of the United States, has been arrested and is being held without charge in a Florida prison.

What did she do? She walked into an immigration office to renew her green card papers.

Her prognosis? Her attorney has been given no indication of whether (or when) (or with what) she may be charged, or whether (or when) she might be granted a bond hearing.

So, what's the deal?
It appears she was arrested under a new immigration program called “Operation Return to Sender.”

According to Michael Chertoff in a June 2006 press release, “Operation Return to Sender is another example of a new and tough interior enforcement strategy that seeks to catch and deport criminal aliens, increase worksite enforcement, and crack down hard on the criminal infrastructure that perpetuates illegal immigration.”

“The fugitives captured in this operation,” claimed Chertoff, “threatened public safety in hundreds of neighborhoods and communities around the country. This department has no tolerance for their criminal behavior.”

However, Maryanovsky, according to her family and friends, has long been an upstanding member of society. She is currently employed placing engineers in jobs nationwide with salaries ranging from $75,000 to $250,000.
Is her case unusual? Not at all, apparently. According to her attorney, the arresting officer told him:
“We got orders to arrest everybody.”

That officer, Keith Bradley, refused to confirm or deny anything about the case [...] saying “I still have a mortgage and bills to pay.”
Surely she can get out on bail, no? Not exactly. Her chance of getting a hearing soon looks slim.
[I]f the detainee is not held near an immigration court there is no mechanism by which they can be brought before an immigration judge to challenge their detention. The individual must simply wait until the right official in the right department of ICE decides it is time to bring them to court. Immigration courts do not have sheriffs who can bring detainees in, so judges will not entertain an attorney’s request for a bond hearing unless the detainee is accessible. Thus, an individual put into detention falls into a sort of black hole.
How is she doing? Not very well.
Maryanovsky takes medication for heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure. She confided to her family and friends that prison personnel mockingly refused to give her medication, telling her, “When you have a heart attack, then we’ll help you.”
One friend [...] said that she has visited Maryanovsky twice, and her ankles and extremities are swelling. “[She] can go into heart failure,” [the friend said]. According to family members, her blood pressure hit 220/110, and the family obtained a doctor’s letter to present to immigration authorities, but she was still apparently not being given her medication.
This is part of the war on terror, right? Not so fast!
Ray Del Papa of the South Florida Peace and Justice Network – a coalition that includes representatives from such groups as the Quakers, Pax Christi, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Jewish Arab Defense Association, Haiti Solidarity, and many others – [...] sees an incongruity in the arrest and detention of such persons as Maryanovsky [...] while known terrorists, such as Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, and Virgilio Paz Romero, are allowed to remain free in the U.S., despite their criminal records.
What can we do about this?

First, read the article I've been quoting, from RAW STORY.

Then make as much noise as you can. But do it safely, please!