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Running head: A VOICE THAT NEEDS TO BE

HEARD 1

A Voice That Needs To Be Heard

Jacky Walldez

Arizona State University


A VOICE THAT NEEDS TO BE HEARD 2

Abstract

This paper provides a brief discussion on how undocumented immigrants should be able to live

freely among everyone else. This paper will show the dehumanizing living conditions in

detention centers and why these people should not be locked away.

Keywords: Immigration, living conditions, detention centers.

A Voice That Needs To Be Heard


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A mother crying painful tears as the memories of her children cloud her thoughts. In a

crowded detention center, the woman desperately needs to know that her family will be okay,

“From then on, I didn't know anything more about my children,” the woman writes, “I asked

them for a minute to speak with my husband and they didn't let me” (Grinberg 2018). Accounts

like this happen countless time in detention centers. There are accounts of not only women, but

men, children and even infants being treated so poorly, it is dehumanizing. Immigration has been

a rising issue in America especially with the current administration. Hernández (2008) discusses

factual statistics of detainee rates during the years. His study concludes that detained individuals

tripled in the 1990s and since “increasing… to over 275,000 annually.” This number is very

concerning for me. This number represents so many families being split up, so many people

suffering, so many tears falling. Undocumented families and individuals belong among us, not in

cages. Undocumented immigrants should not suffer at the hands of ICE.

Hernández, the author of Pursuant to Deportation: Latinos and Immigrant Detention,

talks about how these individuals get “treatments that you might see in a Third World country.”

Hernández discusses how an ICE members were sued due to their “delays in medical treatment

that allowed a cancer to spread to his [a detainee’s] penis, resulting in amputation.” This is an act

of ignorance all around. It is dehumanizing and painful to even think of the pain these

individuals had and have to go though. Their voice needs to be heard. López, the author of In

Rampant Abuses in Immigration Detention Prove ICE Is Rotten to the Core, goes on to report

how these detention centers are “notoriously known as “hieleras,” or iceboxes, because of the

frigid temperatures inside of the cells.” Detainees suffer from freezing temperatures and guards

are unfazed by the suffering. They also suffer from prolonged detention, which is also

dehumanizing. I can't imagine getting my hopes up about finally coming home, only to be told ill
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be staying another month in detention. In The Increased Use of Detention as Part of U.S.

Immigration Enforcement Violates Human Rights, the author discusses the diversity that

detention centers have. They mentions that the centers hold “asylum seekers, torture survivors,

victims of human trafficking, the parents of US citizen children.” These people all have

something in common; they are not criminals. They all have gone through some form of

suffering and are stopped and detained to only go through more pain and suffering. These people

should not be detained! They should be with their family getting the support and love they

deserve as human beings.

` Many could argue that undocumented individuals deserve these treatments because they

are cheating the system, therefore should not be part of this country. However I will argue

otherwise. Myslinska, the author of Living Conditions in Immigration Detention Centers,

describes how one would look and be handled if they were a detainee:

“Living conditions are difficult at detention centers. You will likely be transported

to a detention center in handcuffs, and sometimes in shackles. Many of your

personal belongings will be taken away from you, and you will be assigned a

specific bed. The guards will then refer to you based on the number of your bed or

using your alien registration number.

This to me sounds very much like the prison system. These people aren't given rights like

Americans, yet are treated like citizen criminals. The same, if not worse consequences are given

to undocumented individuals than to regular American citizens. Yet these individuals are not

allowed to do something simple like getting a driver's license. Something needs to get done

about this because it does not seem just.


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With all things said, undocumented immigrants should not be locked up in detention

centers. They should be able to roam freely with their families and be given the chance to also

pursue the American Dream. They should be given some rights that allow them to live like

normal humans, not in constant fear of being locked up or sent away. That type of lifestyle is not

calling living but rather survival. These people should be given an opportunity to live not simply

survive.

References
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Grinberg, E. (2018, July 04). 'They treated us as though we were animals': Letters from inside an

immigration detention facility. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/03/us/detention-

center-letters-grassroots-leadership/index.html

Hernández, D. M. (2008, April 21). Pursuant to Deportation: Latinos and Immigrant Detention.

Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/lst.2008.2#citeas

International, A. (2005). The Increased Use of Detention as Part of U.S. Immigration

Enforcement Violates Human Rights. In L. I. Gerdes (Ed.), Current Controversies. Immigration.

San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Jailed Without Justice: Immigration

Detention in the USA, 2009, New York, NY: Amnesty International) Retrieved from

http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/apps/doc/EJ3010362254/OVIC?u=asuniv&sid=O

VIC&xid=02350c48

López, V. (2019, March 04). Rampant Abuses in Immigration Detention Prove ICE Is

Rotten to the Core. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/blog/prisoners-rights/rampant-

abuses-immigration-detention-prove-ice-rotten-core

Myslinska, D. R. (2017, January 20). Living Conditions in Immigration Detention Centers.

Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/living-conditions-immigration-

detention-centers.html
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