This is not true in many cases. Latinos, Muslims andother minority groups are being targeted in order to fillquotas in a for-profit prison system. Long-termresidents with no criminal records, even those who arelegal American citizens, are being targeted fordeportation.
In order to maintain these quotas, someimmigrants are picked up while buying lunch on construction sites where they work.
Some are pick up for failure to use adirectional signal while driving, or for offenses such as littering.
They are shuffled into the system, intodetention centers and jails sometimes in states far away from where they were arrested.
Many are separated from their families, and do not have anyone they can trust in thiscountry. The ones that do have relatives here often are not visited, as their families are afraid of deportation.
Detainees live in a state of constant worry and/or fear, and often cannot sleep or even watch TV.Many do not read or write, and cannot experience the temporary refuge books or magazines may provide.
A volunteer visitor is often their only contact with the outside world, the only spot ofbrightness in the long corridor of days and months that stretch before them.
Having a visitor changes everything. A visit is like a small light in a world of darkness.
Visiting is a ministry of sorts, in that the visitor representskindness, hope, compassion and humancontact – something every human being needs.
Visitors, too, get a lot out of the time they spend with detainees. Friendshipsform, cultural information is exchanged, and in some small way, visitors feel they are making a difference.
A visit doesn’t make everything better. It can’t. But, fordetainees, it is a chance to share a smile, to express how they feel, to be themselves, and to cling to the hope that there arepeople in this world who recognize and value them as human beings.
One First Friends visitor, Frank Mc Cann says it best:Visiting opens my eyes to the injustice dished outdaily to our immigrant brothers and sisters. I’mchallenged to channel my righteous anger intoconstructive efforts to bring about non-violent socialchange. These are good men with good families whodo not deserve the kind of deprivation they aregetting. I’ve come to experience how alike we areand how much we have in common. I believe in themand know I can never really be free as long as ourimmigrant brothers and sisters are detained in ourjails and detention centers. A part of my heart lives