U.S. citizens like Hector Veloz, a 37-year-old Los Angeles resident, are among tens of thousands languishing in immigration detention facilities without having received a hearing to determine whether their detention is warranted.
“My case was so ironic,” said Veloz. “I am a U.S. citizen, but was held for 13 months and placed on deportation procedure. Because the prison is in Arizona and my family lives in California, I didn’t see my son Geronimo even once in those 13 months.”
The horrible details of his story are included in a report issued last month by Amnesty International.
Even Veloz’s father is a U.S. citizen, a Vietnam veteran who won a Purple Heart. His mother, an immigrant from Mexico, met his dad in the U.S. before he shipped out to war.
Veloz was picked up in Los Angeles by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and flown straight to the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, where he remained from June 2007 to July 2008. The private detention center is one of several operated by the profitable Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private corrections company in the U.S.
“I showed them my birth certificate and that of my father and my parents’ marriage certificate. But they wanted more proof and kept processing me for deportation, even if none of my documentation was ever contested,” said Veloz.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
ICE locked up citizen, threw away key — unions say enough is enough!