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Profiting From Human Misery

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"More than two-thirds of immigrants are detained in so-called contract facilities owned by private companies, such as this one and Delaney Hall," she went on. "The rise of the prison industrial complex has gone hand in hand with the aggrandizing forces of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which, by the way, has filed suit against the very government it is supposed to be working for because they were told to exercise prosecutorial discretion in their detention practices." [Click here to see more about the lawsuit, in which 10 ICE agents attack the administration's easing of government policy on those who illegally entered the United States as children.]

There is an immigration court inside the Elizabeth facility, although the roar of the planes lifting off from the nearby Newark Airport forces those in the court to remain silent every three or four minutes until the sound subsides. Most of those brought before the court have no legal representation and are railroaded through the system and deported. Detainees, although most have no criminal record beyond illegal entry into the United States, wear orange jumpsuits and frequently are handcuffed. They do not have adequate health care. There are now some 5,000 children in foster care because their parents have been detained or deported, according to the Applied Research Center's report, "Shattered Families." The report estimates that this number will rise to 15,000 within five years.

"I am in family court once every six to eight weeks representing some mother who is surrendering custody of her child to somebody else because she does not want to take that child back to the poverty of Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador," Phipps said when we spoke after the rally. "She has no option. She does not want her child to live in the same poverty she grew up in. It is heartbreaking."

We have abandoned the common good. We have been stripped of our rights and voice. Corporations write our laws and determine how we structure our society. We have all become victims. There are no politicians or institutions, no political parties or courts, that are independent enough or strong enough to resist the corporate onslaught. Greater and greater numbers of human beings will be consumed. The poor, the vulnerable, the undocumented, the weak, the elderly, the sick, the children will go first. And those of us watching helplessly outside the gates will go next.

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

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Other people's misery is a small price to pay when... by Ned Lud on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 6:21:09 AM
Yeah but you are a slave like everyone else.  ... by Ted Marc on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 8:37:30 PM
I'm troubled and disappointed. Chris Hedges, a fav... by Marvin Wagner on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 8:16:12 AM
Should these undocumented people, who have entered... by Kristine Hoggatt on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 1:16:58 PM
Automatically let them stay in the country?  ... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 8:30:49 AM
Open all borders, close all prisons.   Open... by Ned Lud on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 9:11:21 AM
 Or nothing grows in the shade of a great oak... by Ad Du on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:45:57 AM
Think about what the US has done to these countrie... by Kristine Hoggatt on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 1:23:03 PM
There is one 'Court' that can not only stop the 'c... by R. A. Landbeck on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 12:53:44 PM
Excellent article___America, colony where the aver... by jean labrek on Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 1:42:00 PM