Violent crimes, mental illness and immigrants who should have been deported

The Boston Globe has done a rare thing—a real investigative story that took a year with extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act and pouring over court documents and phone calls to ICE to produce a documentation of horror.  I could barely get through it, it is so gruesome and so insane.

We are letting violent immigrant criminals out of detention because we can’t or won’t deport them, and the whole shocking business is being done with the utmost secrecy on the part of the federal government.

The killers described in graphic detail in reporter Maria Sacchetti’s article are Cubans, Chinese, Liberian,Vietnamese and Bangladeshi (they don’t say, but all, except the Chinese, could be refugees).

Here is just one of the cases described in the Boston Globe ten days ago (Hat tip: Gary).  It’s about an immigrant from  Bangladesh, Shafiqul Islam, raised in the US (was he a refugee?).

Immigration agent Earl DeLong and his colleagues wasted little time in trying to put Shafiqul Islam on a plane back to his native Bangladesh two years ago. As soon as he finished his prison term in New York for taking pictures of himself sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl when he was 17, immigration agents called the Bangladeshi consulate in Manhattan.

Initially, the Bangladeshis were reassuring and a consular official, Mamunur Rashid, said he sent the agent’s request for clearance to deport Islam to authorities in Dhaka. But as time dragged on, the cooperation waned.

Whenever DeLong and others called the consulate over the next few months, Rashid was increasingly unavailable. The receptionist said he was not in. He was on vacation or out to lunch. Sometimes, a person at the consulate answered the phone and just hung up. Other times, the phone rang but nobody answered.

“Spoke to a person at the consulate four different times, never able to speak with Mamunur Rashid,” one agent wrote in a secret federal log that became public as part of a lawsuit.

US officials had seen stalling tactics from Bangladesh before: The impoverished Asian nation typically took several months to provide passports for criminals being deported last year — if they provided the documents at all, according to federal statistics.

Foreign countries are understandably reluctant to accept criminals, especially those such as Islam who were raised in the United States, and they have little incentive to do so since the United States rarely takes action against them, such as refusing to issue them visas.

State Department officials acknowledge that they try to avoid reaching the point of sanctions with nations like Bangladesh, but insist that they do apply diplomatic pressure.

“It is a matter we take very seriously, and consistently raise it at high levels with all countries where this is a concern,” said department spokesman Ken Chavez.

Islam filed a lawsuit to get out of detention. 

Hoping Bangladesh would clear Islam’s return, US immigration officials told Islam in April 2011 that they were going to continue to hold him even though more than six months had passed since Islam’s sexual abuse sentence ended. Islam responded with a lawsuit, charging that immigration could not continue to detain him because it was unlikely that Bangladesh would take him back. In the lawsuit, he pointedly noted that the consulate appeared to be dodging the immigration agent’s calls.

Islam’s lawsuit made public a host of immigration documents that are normally kept secret. The documents revealed both immigration officials’ concerns that Islam is dangerous and their frustrating attempts to contact the Bangladeshis.

But there is no evidence in the file that immigration officials requested an immigration court hearing to determine if they could continue to hold him as a threat to public safety.

Instead, the records show that on Oct. 3, 2011, immigration officials gave up and released Islam.

Readers, I think you can already guess what is coming.  Seven weeks later…..

Seven weeks later, Islam was at Lois Decker’s door.

Everyone loved the retired school lunch lady, a friendly 73-year-old grandmother who taught Sunday school and lived her whole life in Hillsdale, N.Y., a rural hamlet just across the border from the Massachusetts line. Decker raised five children, but she lived alone in the house her daughter bought for her on Cold Water Street.

Sheriff’s deputies say they are unsure what drew Islam to Decker’s house that day, but family members said she had planned to rent out an apartment in the basement. Islam had a construction job in the Berkshires.

Hours after Islam visited Decker’s house, police arrested him in a traffic stop in a nearby city. He had stolen Decker’s white Hyundai, crashed it, and then tried to steal the truck of good Samaritans who had stopped to help him. He finally stole yet another truck, but did not get far. When police arrested him, he was spattered with blood, and had Decker’s credit card in the truck.

Sheriff’s deputies discovered a gruesome scene at Lois Decker’s house. The woman had been strangled, court records showed, and her face and throat were slashed. Officials found Islam’s semen on a sheet in the house, though officials did not find bodily evidence that Decker was sexually assaulted.

There is more, please read the whole article but be forewarned it is graphic and the information about how many violent (mentally ill?) immigrants we are releasing because their home countries won’t take them back is bad enough, but add to that the fact that ICE is keeping all this secret from us is too horrible to comprehend.

Reporter Sacchetti should get a Pulitzer Prize!

University of Kansas professor to study Garden City, KS adjustment to demographic change

…But even before his research of the educational system and the challenges of a diverse student population it faces begins, he is prejudiced in favor of a positive report.

Here is how the story in the Garden City Telegram wraps up:

Stull [Don Stull professor of anthropology] said that in contrast to many other demographically similar communities that he has studied, Garden City is one of only a few that views diversity as something positive.

“Not everybody is happy about it, certainly, but Garden City, as a whole, has met those challenges head on and has seen the growing cultural and linguistic diversity as something to be valued and celebrated,” he said.

Got a hint now of the tone of the final report on this town in the heartland that has been transformed over three decades of immigrants arriving there to supply the cheap labor needs of Tyson Foods!

Before I launch into the rest of this very informative piece in the Garden City Telegram, check out our archives on Garden City.  We have written many posts about the problems there with the burgeoning immigrant population thanks to readers from Garden City who are the unhappy ones Stull refers to above.

One of my all time favorite stories from Garden City is when members of the Somali community demanded their own publicly funded section of the Cemetery so they didn’t need to be near the infidels even in death.  No assimilation even in death.   For our lengthy archive on Garden City, go here.

Another city in Kansas, Emporia, couldn’t take it when Tysons brought in hundreds of Somali workers, much controversy ensued and ultimately Tysons closed the Emporia plant and moved those workers to towns, like Garden City, that “celebrate” diversity.  See our whole category on what happened in Emporia (there are other posts in that category about how meatpackers are changing towns).  Other struggling meatpacking towns with immigrant controversies may be found in our category, Greeley/Swift Somali controversy.*

Here is the Garden City Telegram story from earlier this month (emphasis mine):

Because of its diversity, Garden City will be the focus of a research study conducted by the University of Kansas, beginning in January.

KU researchers recently were awarded a grant that will allow them to study the impact 30 years of continuous population changes in Garden City have had on local schools, and what that could teach educators in other communities nationwide.

“Garden City was at the forefront of that changing demographic and has been an exemplar, not only of what has happened, but what will continue to happen,” Don Stull, KU professor of anthropology, said. “Schools are one of the places in any community where everyone comes together. That’s not necessarily true of work, recreation, religion or similar institutions. We’ll be able to look at that intersection of school and community and learn a great deal.”

Stull has done research about Garden City for the past 25 years, contributing to his expertise about the impact meat and poultry industries have on communities.

Apparently Stull plans to report that Garden City is an “exemplar” that other cities should follow.  His report will then be used to guilt-trip other overloaded meatpacking towns to not complain about the immigrant labor flowing in and out of their towns.

American blacks have high unemployment rates.

By the way, just this morning Roy Beck of NumbersUSA sent out an e-mail stating that the media is starting to pay attention to the high unemployment numbers for black Americans.  Here is one paragraph from his e-mail:

As has happened in every great wave of immigration, the nation’s employers have eliminated channels of recruitment into poor Black communities. Employers don’t need Black American workers for construction, manufacturing, service and transportation because the government provides masses of new immigrant workers every year who, as the Post noted, have built-in job networks and a rootlessness that give them advantages for the scarce jobs of this economy.  [Additionally, the immigrant workers, esp. the refugees, are taking advantage of the social safety net so that meatpacking wages can be kept low.—ed]

I digressed!  Back to Garden City….

Since Iowa Beef Processors (IBP) opened in December 1980 in Holcomb (now Tyson Fresh Meats), immigrants from Latin America, southeast Asia and, more recently, Somalia, Ethiopia and Myanmar have relocated to Garden City.

The $40,000 grant awarded by the Spencer Foundation will allow professors Stull and Jennifer Ng, KU associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies, to conduct interviews with teachers, administrators, parents and students, to see how they have approached the cultural shift in terms of meeting the educational needs of Garden City’s migrant and refugee students, who collectively speak 21 languages other than English.

“The Spencer Foundation research will afford me the opportunity, along with Jennifer, to spend quite a bit of time in Garden City, focusing specifically on the schools and how administrators, teachers and other staff — how they really are dealing with that growing diversity,” Stull said.

The professors’ research will enable them to compile and share data with other communities in the nation and Canada that are experiencing similar change.

Stull:  Garden City is a “micropolitan” community!   Bet you wish you had one of these!

Micropolitan communities are rural, small towns, based largely on agricultural economies, but they experience the kind of social and cultural challenges that metropolitan areas face. So one of the attractive things about Garden City, to researchers like myself, is that there are a lot of really interesting things happening, but they’re happening on a scale small enough that you can kind of get your mind around it, you can see it,” he said.

Readers might want to visit this post from 2010 where another professor in Kansas (Kansas State) wrote not so favorably about the refugees being delivered into the hands of meatpackers by the government (and the NGOs!) to Kansas towns and leaving the problems of assimilation to the towns to cope with!

* I have a theory that when the Somalis caused such problems a few years ago in meatpacking plants with their lawsuits and religious demands, that the big boys in the meat industry said to the State Department—bring us refugee laborers that are more docile!  Thus the Burmese Karen and Bhutanese/Nepalis began being resettled in huge numbers.  Legal and trapped labor is just the ticket for the meat giants!

Trapped?  Refugees can’t go home unless they can scrounge up money for a return flight.  Some have managed to do that.