Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 5, 2009


The ACLU is representing two immigrants, Elliot Grenade and Alexander Alli, both lawful permanent U.S. residents, who have been held indefinitely without hearings in Pennsylvania prisons while they pursue legitimate legal challenges to deportation. Grenade and Alli are seeking to represent a class of other similarly detained immigrants in Pennsylvania.

Grenade, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, has lived in the U.S. for nearly 28 years as a lawful permanent resident. His two children, domestic partner and his mother are all U.S. citizens. Grenade has spent nearly two years in immigration detention fighting the government's efforts to deport him based on a drug sale offense that took place over 10 years ago. During the entire length of Grenade's detention, he has never received a bond hearing to determine whether his detention is justified.

Alli, who came to the U.S. in 1990 from Ghana, is a lawful permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen with whom he has three children. He owns an established real estate company in the Bronx, New York. For the past 11 months, Alli has been held in detention while challenging the government's efforts to deport him because of convictions related to major credit card fraud. An immigration judge has found that Alli is eligible to apply for a waiver that would allow him to seek a new green card and remain in the country. However, Alli has never had a chance to present this information in a bond hearing so a judge can determine whether his detention is justified.

Over the last several years, the use of detention as an immigration enforcement strategy has increased exponentially. On an average day, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security detains roughly 33,400 non-citizens in federal detention facilities and local jails across the country, over a threefold increase in the detention population since just a decade ago.

"Many immigrants in detention have substantial challenges to deportation and pose no danger to society or flight risk, yet they are unable to endure the prospect of prolonged detention and end up abandoning their cases," said Vic Walczak, Legal Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which is co-counsel on the case


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hasn't this detention of immigrants been going on since Clinton sponsored legislation taking away the rights of landed immigrants? Why has ACLU waited until now?

August 6, 2009 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me clarify. Until Bill, if youy crawled or washed ashore, you might not get to stay but you were entitled to the same Constitutional rights as a US citizen. Bill and his fellow corporate criminals knew well that you attack the great fortress of freedom at it's weakest stone.

August 6, 2009 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that is the reason the Second Amendment is always under attack and why we have the hate crimes act; they are both sneak attacks on the Bill of Rights. Just as law removing constitutional protections for immigrants led to weakoning those for citzens, gun bans, hate crime laws , and serial sexual predator laws have the same aim, eroding the Bill of Right and paving the way for the patriot act.

August 7, 2009 12:44 PM  

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