Friday, November 30, 2007

Update on jailed nursing Mom

It's been a busy week and I've gotten a little behind in my blogging, but I wanted to post an update about the jailed nursing Mom who was separated from her young baby.

As of Wednesday, Danielle Ferreira was reunited with her children, but the long-term issues remain. Jail officials are asking for a review of breastfeeding policy. Other jails have said they don't allow breastmilk pumping because of the liability issues in case the milk would become contaminated and the baby got sick. What a cop-out, or put more positively, this should be a solvable problem.

I am most worried about people being incarcerated for status offenses. I am not an immigration expert by any means, but local activists have told me about the severe effects of ICE raids in North Carolina. Equally worrisome to me is the idea that anti-immigrant sentiment is the last bastion of sanctioned racism.

The Charlotte Oberver says that "Since last year, the Mecklenburg jail has participated in a federal program that identifies illegal immigrants after they are arrested and turns them over to immigration officials." We all need to learn a lot more about this program that empowers local law enforcement agencies to perform immigration functions. See the US Customs and Immigration page for more information on this "ICE ACCESS" program. Of course it is promoted as an effort to reduce violent crime it's also sweeping up people who have not committed anything other than status offenses. Please read this recent New York Times editorial on the midnight immigration raids that have terrorized families.

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