Saturday, December 27, 2008

And People Began to Disappear

What kind of contract with the devil would a small town make to help its financial situation?  Building a detention facility, then filling the place with its own people is about the worst they could do.  This didn't stop them.

Below is an excellent NYT article on Central Falls, Rhode Island. It is long, has a video and numerous photographs.  If you are interested in the impact of recent arbitrary immigration policies, you best read this article by Nina Bernstein.
Leaning on Jail, City of Immigrants Fills Cells With Its Own
New York Times
Published: December 26, 2008
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — Few in this threadbare little mill town gave much thought to the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, the maximum-security jail beside the public ball fields at the edge of town. Even when it expanded and added barbed wire, Wyatt was just the backdrop for Little League games, its name stitched on the caps of the team it sponsored.

Then people began to disappear: the leader of a prayer group at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church; the father of a second grader at the public charter school; a woman who mopped floors in a Providence courthouse.

After days of searching, their families found them locked up inside Wyatt — only blocks from home, but in a separate world.

In this mostly Latino city, hardly anyone had realized that in addition to detaining the accused drug dealers and mobsters everyone heard about, the jail held hundreds of people charged with no crime — people caught in the nation’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Fewer still knew that Wyatt was a portal into an expanding network of other jails, bigger and more remote, all propelling detainees toward deportation with little chance to protest

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