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Letter: Legal limbo

Thank you for your Feb. 19 editorial “No justice with legal limbo,” which brings to light a dark secret. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detains immigrant men and women indefinitely without a hearing. Whether they are here legally, as many are, or have come illegally to try to climb out of poverty, they should not be deprived of their human rights.

Most of us are not aware that our local Franklin County jail has been making good money by housing these ICE detainees at a higher rate than regular prisoners, and in the process are perpetuating an injustice. In addition, most detainees were living far from here, making it hard for relatives and friends to visit them. Other victims are their children, who are suddenly without their parents and don’t know when or if they will ever see them again.

Maybe our jail is learning from Guantanamo that it is OK to lock people up without formal charges or opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. Is this the system that makes the U.S. “the land of the free and the home of the brave?” Or a bully nation that is afraid of people who are different and less fortunate than we? Of course, our jail is part of a larger system, but that does not absolve it of responsibility toward the men, women and children who are caught in legal limbo.

SHERRILL HOGEN

Charlemont

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