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Immigration Campout at Broadview Detention Center

June 19, 2008

Broadview, IL - A tent city is being erected outside the Broadview Detention Center today. Hundreds will be camping out all night to hold a vigil for the thousands of immigrants being held at the center, as well as hundreds more expected to arrive by bus tomorrow morning.

Catherine Salgado, with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says it's time to hold the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) accountable for what many believe are human and civil rights violations.

"We must stop the immigration raids that lock up people without due process, and ensure humane conditions for detainees and access to a just trial."

Salgado says detainees have died in custody, some taking their own lives. Depression is common, she explains, because people are separated from their families and reportedly are not allowed to see church counselors.

"Many of them don't have access to their religious workers, or have not had a fair trial. Some of the detainees' conditions are not good."

Immigration raids are backed by those who insist the U.S. needs to crack down on workers and their family members in the country without documentation. Salgado says that doesn't address the bigger picture of the role of immigrants in many U.S. industries, or the government's administrative backlogs that have thousands waiting for more than a year for their U.S. citizenship applications to be considered.

The campout is part of a national "Night of 1,000 Conversations" about immigration. DHS is expected to release an official response to the vigil tomorrow.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - IL