Sudha’s First Reflections

Sudhamayee Kumar
Court watch-Day 1 9/21/09
It was a crowded day at the Chicago Immigration court. Flocks of freshly naturalized citizens emerged from the glass doors of the bright building. This is the pretty side of immigration, the side which the media portrays to the poorly informed public. The dark side lies within this building’s basement. Here undocumented immigrants have their Hearings, after spending from one to many months in detention facilities throughout the Chicago-land area. Most are deported to their nations of origin, and their lives are left broken. Fragments of their lives are left behind, in the form of family members, and a few of their stories are told and heard. The struggle of immigrants who lack proper paper work is something which can easily be overlooked if one forgets that these people are human beings with feelings and families.
During my first visit to the court watch, I observed the case of a respondent who had previously been presented in court twice and this third time the critical “Notice to Appear” was still not present. This notice states the charges against the respondent. Such discrepancies within our judicial system lead to respondents being detained for months on end. This type of detention leads to depression within the individual and his or her family members.


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