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Detention Nation: Immigration Imprisonment and its Impact on America

Detention Nation: Immigration Imprisonment and its Impact on America

Picture of Annabelle Sedano

Every day, men, women and children who are here illegally either because they sneaked across the border or overstayed their visas are removed from the United States and sent home. Last year, 410,000 undocumented immigrants were deported. As a reporter, working in the second largest city in America I see it all too often. In a matter of days, their dreams and their families are torn and left behind. However, it goes beyond truncated dreams and a broken family, it’s the next phase after they’re “caught” that is most concerning.

According to statistics, in 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a record-breaking 429,000 immigrants in over 250 facilities across the country. The hours and days those undocumented immigrants are placed in detention centers have caused lasting medical and health effects. Detainees are exposed to myriad abuses—from a lack of adequate medical and mental health care that in many cases have caused unnecessary deaths.

In fact, despite tight budgets, Congress requires the Department of Homeland Security to hold about 34,000 people a day in centers for detainees facing possible deportation. That lock-up system costs taxpayers $122 to $164 to hold a detainee each day, or more than $2 billion a year, according to immigrant-rights groups.

As a 2013 National Health Fellow, my objective is to develop a multimedia series that will be aired on Univision and featured in Univision.com in which, I will be examining the short and long-term effects caused by the procedures and standards used by immigration authorities. I will be documenting cases of those directly affected by deportations, explore the nature of these detention centers and determine whether something is being done to restructure those standards and procedures.

Image by Seattle Globalist via

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