Immigration News: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Deportation Leads to Death?

First, in a story that reminds me of why I never put a Christian bumper sticker on my car, an undocumented 21-year-old Mexican immigrant who was paralyzed in a construction accident died a little more than one year after the Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, sent him back to Mexico, where he presumably received inferior care. The hospital “expressed regret for its handling of the process” and said “it is working with advocacy groups to improve its policies on international transfers,” The Chicago Tribune reported.

Legal Immigrants Are Citizens Too

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, legal immigrants will gain access to the state’s Commonwealth Care health insurance plan after the state Supreme Court ruled that “the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of legal immigrants were violated when the state stripped them of their health care coverage in 2009” in order to save money, Colorlines reported.

Run Away Accidentally Deported

Next, news broke that a Dallas teenager who had been missing for more than a year had been arrested in Houston and was accidentally deported to Columbia. The teen, who had run away from home, “gave the police a false name and her new alias just happened to match up with the name of a 22-year-old Colombian citizen who had been in the United States illegally,” Yahoo News reported. Talk about your “Scared Straight” experience.

Detention Centers Reopen Trauma Wounds

Speaking of trauma, Colorlines got a rare look inside six U.S. immigration detention centers, and reported various humiliations and abuses, but concluded that “for many detainees, the worst part of awaiting expulsion is not the acute trauma inflicted inside the jails,” but “the unhealed wounds of violence from life on the outside that the humiliating baseness of life inside these jails reopens.” Still, a detainee reportedly lost sight in one of his eyes after being denied medication for an infection.

Connecting Immigration Dots in Alabama

At the God’s Politics blog, Lisa Sharon Harper connected her family history of forced immigration to the state with her mobilizing efforts there on behalf of undocumented immigrants. “These current day restrictions on immigrants are exactly what African Americans across the south faced during nearly 100 years of Jim Crow law, from about 1870 until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Tears rolled down my face. I wasn’t prepared for just how bad it is… again,” said Harper.

Politicians Flip Flop on Immigration

On the presidential campaign trail, Mitt Romney’s threat to veto the DREAM Act is gaining traction with Latino voters, “the nation’s fastest growing voting group – with an estimated 12 million set to vote in the election,” according to ABC News.

The 2008 Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, has endorsed Romney, even though McCain “was once a principal architect of comprehensive immigration reform,” according to MSNBC’s First Read blog. McCain has apparently had a change of heart on the issue, but conceded that Republicans need to “fix” their “problems with the Hispanics.”

“President Obama gave Republicans a political opening to Hispanic voters by deporting one million illegal aliens, a record number and a source of enormous irritation to many Hispanics. For Republicans to exploit that opening, however, and fix their ‘problems’ with Hispanics, the party must first fix its policies,” Bloomberg View editorial board member Francis Wilkinson opined in response.

Obama Administration Leaks Plan

Perhaps the president too has had a change of heart. An anonymous “senior administration official” told The Associated Press that the administration is planning to relieve some of the strain undocumented immigrants and their families face with a rule change that will “help reduce the time illegal immigrant spouses and children are separated from citizen relatives while they try to win legal status in the United States.”

What do you think?

Is the news this week on the immigration front good, bad, or ugly?