After five years in detention, asylum seeker Glorismel Centeno Ortiz was finally released on September 29 2011. Centeno spent nearly two years in federal custody for criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed and then another three years in immigration detention. Centeno is one of thousands of immigrants that languish indefinitely in detention for years, waiting for the day they will finally be deported or released.
Despite repeated calls for reform, the immigration detention web continues to grow in scale and cost, and the majority of immigrants held by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have broken no criminal laws.
With budgets in crisis and the recession showing no signs of abatement, Massachusetts is looking for creative ways to cut prison spending. In a recent Joint Committee on the Judiciary session, Republican lawmakers and a group of sheriffs asked the Committee to support a bill that would require Massachusetts inmates to pay for their time in lock up.
Last week, Federal District Judge Sharon Blackburn declined to strike major portions of Alabama’s extreme anti-immigrant law, HB 56, making Alabama the state with the strictest immigration laws in the country.
Victims of persecution and torture should never be at the mercy of a filing deadline to gain asylum. Most asylum seekers do not realize that they only have one year after their arrival to apply for asylum. If they miss this deadline, they risk being sent back to their countries and into the hands of their tormentors.