[Updated with photos, 1/13/12] Today, January 11, 2012, marks the tenth year of existence of the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Ten years ago, twenty men arrived there and were held in Camp X-Ray, a temporary camp of open-air 6’x8’ cells made of chain link fence...
On January 11, 2012, ten years after the first detainees were brought to Guantánamo, demonstrations took place across the globe to protest the continued existence of the prison camp that has come to symbolize torture and indefinite detention. From Washington DC all the way to San Francisco, across the ocean to London, Paris, and Brussels, hundreds of protestors marched, demonstrated and chanted slogans, demanding justice for the men at Guantánamo.
When the Obama administration announced that it would encourage the use of prosecutorial discretion to determine which undocumented immigrants should be targeted for deportation, immigrants and advocates were cautiously optimistic. Now, as the first batch of cases to be considered for prosecutorial discretion are making their way through the system, both the benefits of the policy and the challenges to implementing it are coming into focus.
January 11, 2012 marks the ten-year “anniversary” of the first detainees imprisoned at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, nearly 170 men remain in Guantanamo--incarcerated without ever having been tried for a crime, yet living in severe conditions and cut off from their families and communities. Many have survived torture and abuse at the hands of their American captors. They do not know when, if ever, they will leave the prison. It is time to close Guantanamo and stop this illegal and immoral practice.
Immigrants, especially those with mental disabilities, face nearly insurmountable odds in trying to prevent their deportation and gain legal status in the US. US immigration law is a complicated jumble of statutes enacted over the past 60 years that is in desperate need of wholesale reform. The good news is for detained immigrants with serious mental disabilities in California, Arizona, and Washington, help may be on the way.