BRING HOME OUR DEPORTED
"We take the men and women who wear a uniform too much for granted, think and speak of them as "troops" instead of seeing them as human beings with individual lives - with individual hopes and dreams that they put on hold for us. War may make a man, but it can also break him if what he has done, what he has confronted in his life for our sake is too easily swept aside as insignificant by the very people he fought to protect - and we are doing exactly that today. Whether it is our homeless veterans, our veterans unable to defend themselves against a falsely filed restraining order because their military past has been used against them, or veterans granted no consideration for the sacrifices they have made when dealing with our draconian immigration system, the message is loud and clear - war is messy and we don't want that mess here! Take it somewhere else. What an incredible slap in the face for our most dedicated, our most loyal, our most courageous." Excerpt from "For Veterans of the Fight For Freedom" found in "Notes" on my facebook page.
AUDRIUS KAZENAS UPDATE:
Audrius was ordered removed and then granted deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture for a second time by an immigration judge. DHS' Assistant Chief Counsel appealed the judge's decision yet again, but this time she waited till the last day to file her intention to appeal, she then filed for an extention and then filed her brief on the last day. She has done everything possible to keep Audrius in prison indefinitely. Isn’t it interesting the way ICE is willing to spend so much time and money to deport one immigrant even after one of their own judges has found in the immigrant’s favor - twice; even when it is against the wishes of the citizen community from which that immigrant was taken?
The Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the Immigration Judge's finding and ordered Audrius deported. Audrius has filed an appeal with the First Circuit Court and has filed for a stay of deportation till that appeal is heard. DHS filed a request that that stay of deportation be denied and tried to deport him before the stay was granted. Meanwhile the transcripts sent to Audrius by the First Circuit Court - and signed for at the prison on August 4, "went missing" and were not delivered to Audrius for over 40 days.
Audrius committed no crime in this country. He has the full support of those in our community who know him well, including our police and town officials. He has been recently released on $10,000 bail after sitting in a prison cell for three and one half years.
In a letter to the court Audrius’ wife wrote about his girls: "who love their daddy very much and miss him every day, because they are used to being with him every day since their birth. His loss has been incredibly hard on them and they don't understand, nor can they cope with it well at their age. Knowing that he is alive, but forbidden from being with them is impacting their psychological and emotional well being, as well as schoolwork, friendships and many other areas of life. Audrius is a great father, husband and a caring, loving hard-working and intelligent person." His wife moved in with her boyfriend soon after that and is now the one keeping the children from seeing their father.
There are many stories floating around about Audrius Kazenas these days. It might seem hard to know what to believe, but though the chaos of "he said/she said" can temporarily blind us to the truth, actions - how a person treats others and the world - always leave little footprints behind - easy to read for any who wish to really know.
Some lives are filled with friends of long standing who are glad to have that person in their midst and who mourn when he or she is removed.
Then there are those whose lives are littered with past friendships and broken relationships that have turned sour and bitter. We all have a few disappointing or toxic people in our past, but with a good person, they will be few. When there are many, there is a reason.
These tracks are impossible to hide and they do not lie. Audrius has many friends - from his past and in his present. He was taken from our community nearly three years ago and still people who know him speak of how much he is missed. His detractors, with the exception of two who stand to benefit financially from his deportation, have never met the man. If they had they would know what we know: Audrius is a good man. His continued incarceration does him, does all of us, a great injustice.
HAVE YOU NOTICED:
If an agent of DHS/ICE contacts a police officer who has sent a written statement regarding a case to an immigration judge and tries to intimidate that officer into withdrawing that statement it is perfectly legal. If you or I contact a police officer who has sent a written statement regarding a case to any judge and you or I try to intimidate that officer into withdrawing that statement it is called witness tampering and it is illegal.
If an agent of DHS/ICE files a document with a court of law that contains blatantly false statements it is perfectly legal. If you or I file a document with a court of law that contains blatantly false statements it is called making a false unsworn statement and it is illegal
If an agent of DHS/ICE lies in court to milsead the judge it is perfectly legal. If I lie in court to mislead the judge it is called perjury and it is illegal.
If an agent of DHS/ICE protects a person from being discovered and/or charged in the commission of a felony it is perfectly legal. If I protect a person from being discovered and/or charged in the commission of a felony it is called obstruction of justice and it is illegal.
If an agent of DHS/ICE unknowingly takes part in the commission of a felony it is perfectly legal. If I unknowingly take part in the commission of a felony it is called aiding and abetting and it is illegal.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? . . .
ONLY PEOPLE IN FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE ALLOWED TO BREAK THE LAW. . .
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND JANET NAPOLITANO (ignored)
Do you remember the Statue of Liberty and the poem at her base?
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempset-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Ahhh, those were the days! I remember when those things actually meant something. . . yup . . . I'm that old!
On January 1st, 2010 a group of dedicated students began a four month walk from Miami to Washington DC in support of immigrant families.
Also on January 1st, 2010 a half dozen people whose lives have been directly affected by our destructive immigration policies will began a fast in a desperate attempt to get President Obama to hear their pleas and use his executive authority to bring relief to families being cruelly separated by our admittedly broken immigration system. At the end of 17 days there was no response from Washington and Janet Napolitano, who was within one block of them ignored their requests for a meeting. The fast was broken.
Our courts sometimes make mistakes. Because of this, frustrated law enforcement agents sometimes loose faith and decide that bending, twisting or manipulating the facts and the law to get someone behind bars is warranted. That one action is a crime against all of society. Our courts aren't perfect, but they are far better protection for the common man than individual agents of the court deciding outcomes for themselves through the use of force or deceit.
Courts depend on those entrusted with upholding the law to honor that trust. When that trust is betrayed our system of justice becomes dangerous to the people. That is not the fault of the system, it is the fault of those who betrayed our trust.
For details and documents about the man who started all this: Audrius
"A NEW HAMPSHIRE YANKEE
Dedicated to Audrius Kazenas
November 24, 2008 I was a normal wife and mother. Thanksgiving was three days away. I’d started my day feeding the chickens and goats on our small farm, did some shopping, spent time on the phone coordinating schedules for the multi-family dinner planned for turkey day and took my teenage son to his jujitsu class. November 26 found me sitting in a police station looking into an abyss of international politics stemming from the end of the Cold War and coordinating the dissolution of the various pets and belongings that had been a man’s life. My mind raced to keep up with everything I was being told, everything that had happened and that I had just learned. I stood lost in a jungle of government agencies and national egos. The task facing me was to find navigable pathways back to safety for a close friend, Audrius Kazenas, and if I was to help him, for myself. Thanksgiving was a day away and totally forgotten. I’d been ICED.
Well over a million people are ICED by our government every year in the United States. They aren’t killed. That would be the old meaning of the term. This is the updated, twenty-first century version where average people are left functioning in our society while existing under crushing mental torture, frequently wishing they’d been killed instead. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is part of DHS, the Department of Homeland Security. They are responsible for handling the detention and deportation of immigrants within this country. Please note: I did not say “illegal” immigrants. By the summer of 2009, it was reported that nearly 19,000 – more than half of the immigrants held in detention (prison) by ICE were guilty of no crime. These detained immigrants who are not criminals have none of the protections that are legally granted to murderers, rapists, drug dealers and the like and so they can and are held indefinitely, even years, and under conditions that are illegal to maintain criminals under. While in custody the treatment of some of these immigrants is so damaging, if the same were done to a dog, it would land the perpetrator in jail.
DID YOU KNOW?
That this country has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prison population?
That we are holding immigrants in prison for indefinite periods in this country on a "civil detention" - meaning they have not been found guilty of committing any crime and that they sit in prison for months and years while thieves, pedophiles and drug dealers walk free?.
That some of those held on a civil detention have been in a US prison for years - longer than they would be if they had stabbed someone - and they have committed absolutely no crime?
That ICE is supposed to focus their attention on dangerous criminals, but recent actions have only raised the percentage of felons held in federal immigration detention units from just over 10% to just around 20% - and that includes people whose only felony is having returned after a prior deporation?
That the Obama administration detained and deported more innocent and non-dangerous immigrants last year than any other president in United States history?
That some detainees have been forcefully injected with massive, potentially deadly doses of psychiatric drugs when being deported and that the threat of this is still being used to this day?
That the vast majority of ICE detainees are still those seeking relief from deportation under protections such as The Convention Against Torture, non-dangerous small offenders, immigrants who served their sentence years, even decades ago who have gone on to build productive lives and loving families, and immigrants innocent of any crimes in this country?
That we have detained and/or deported thousands of U.S. veterans of foreign war who served our country honorably and were here legally?
That DHS/ICE prosecutors use the Board of Immigration Appeals to relentlessly pursue the deportation of some immigrants who have been granted the ability to stay by ICE's own immigration judges while at the same time keeping other immigrants who have been ordered deported, want to be deported and have all the proper paperwork to be deported in detention within the U.S. for months and even years?
That according to ICE, detention is not punishment?
That adopted children of American citizens have been detained and deported, in fact, there are a disturbing number of cases of citizens being illegally detained and deported?
That the majority of the immigrants held in detention were here legally and many who have been detained and/or deported for being undocumented were undocumented due to administrative errors?
That detained immigrants who are victims of many crimes, including spousal abuse, are usually not allowed to testify against the perpetrator, thereby allowing predators to walk free among us while their victim sits in prison?
That there are legal standards in this country as to the conditions under which criminals are housed and cared for, but there are no such standards for immigrants? Most are held in conditions that would be illegal to subject them to were they a murderer or drug dealer while some are held in conditions that would be illegal to subject a dog to?
That according to ICE, detention is not punishment?
That we have detained and/or deported our allied veterans of battles to end the Cold War as well as allied veterans of the war against terrorism, inluding many with skills and knowledge that we desperately need to fight terrorism and that we will relentlessly pursue such veteran's deportation even when it risks delivering them to torture and death at the hands of allies of Al Qaeda?
That immigrants charged with any crime in this country, no matter how minor, are automatically detained and have deportation proceedings started against them, whether they have been found guilty or not, and that once detained on a minor charge that immigrant will be treated as if he/she had been found guilty of that charge?
That immigrants charged with minor crimes, once detained, are not allowed to defend themselves against the charges leaving them unable to prove their innocence or obtain any justice?
That even when the police find they have the wrong person, or that an immigrant is actually the victim of a crime themselves, that ICE has been known to still hold them and attempt to deport them, even when they are here legally?
That immigration hearings are not open to public scrutiny - and you, as a citizen, are not allowed to know what our government is doing in those courtrooms?
That after an immigrant is ordered released by a judge it had taken ICE as long as 5 months to release that immigrant and that frequently a lawyer is needed to force them to?
That ICE deporation officers and prosecutors can claim anything about detained immigrants with no substantiating proof and the detainee is guilty till proven innocent?
That ICE agents who knowingly misrepresent the facts to an immigration judge are not held accountable?
That at least one ICE official has bragged to a government representative of her intentions to hold an innocent immigrant indefinitely.
That immigrants have been detained and imprisoned by ICE for being the victim of a crime?
That keeping these people in prison is costing the US taxpayer $100 or more a day per detainee - more than it costs to house a criminal?
That badly needed skilled and professional immigrant workers are leaving this country because of our draconian immigration practices - and Canada is gladly welcoming them?
That this is the land of the Free - the sweet land of Liberty?
In the United States of America a kennel owner who cannot adequately care for the number of dogs in his or her care is not allowed to continue to keep that many dogs. A kennel owner who abuses those dogs looses his or her right to keep dogs at all. DHS and ICE have, by their actions and admission shown that they are not able to adequately care for the number of immigrants they presently hold in custody. They have shown through their actions that they can not protect or are unwilling to protect from abuse immigrants they are currently holding. Are not these immigrants, these human beings, worthy of at least as much consideration as we would grant a dog?
Secret ICE Castles
GAMAN: A Japanese word defined as
the ability to endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.
My teenage son studies Japanese, that along with his violin and circus arts have been his main interests for a number of years. One night when I was particularly discouraged and felt totally defeated by my own government, he introduced me to the Japanese concept of "gaman" and to the gaman art created in this country during WWII. It reminded me that all of this and far worse has been endured before. There is still much injustice in this world, but looking back through history, we have made gains.
I can not control all that is done to me, Audrius has lost everything and has no control over what is being done to him, but we all can control how we respond. I decided to create some art of my own, something to put a little of the joy and magic that had been lost through this experience back into the world. This web site - my writing - is my bid to transcend what I have been living since ICE came. It is my declaration that that future will be better despite all attemts to make that not so.
I am not equal to the might and power of our federal government. But I believe that it is my duty as a citizen of this country to do everything within my ability to stand up for the system of justice that my ancestors, the Shermans, Dunhams, Pooles, etc sacrificed their comforts and risked their lives to put in place. In the end it is not the federal government I must answer to. In the end, all that I or any one of us have left is self respect and knowing that we did the best we could with what we had. Whether we win or are utterly defeated - no one can take that from us but us.
“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard.
Do you remember your childhood? – the bullies in school that always seemed filled with hatred and self-righteously tormented those who were most vulnerable? Well bullies grow up and many of them have not changed, only now they are called Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and Nativists. They are loud. They are obnoxious. They are filled with hate for any and all who are different and they intend to push us aside and get their way. They make certain they are heard by our politicians. Most of our representatives are decent, hard-working people, but they need the input of those of us who do not agree with the hard line anti-immigrant activists who are working to degrade the character of our country. They need your voice. Make yourself heard!
Do you think you can't make a difference? Do you think your voice isn’t needed - can’t help? Reread “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr Seuss. Let me refresh your memory:
Your “Yopp” is desperately needed! Write President Obama, Janet Napolitano, John Morton and your Senator and Congressman TODAY!
One thing that has always struck me about Audrius Kazenas is his extreme and unwavering sense of duty to support veterans who have fought, as he has, in the wars against Communism and terrorism. What country they served in does not matter; the fact that they did serve is all he needs to know. Audrius did his part to oust the Soviets from Eastern Europe and went on to work undercover in military intelligence to uncover corruption, secure a stable system of liberty and justice and fight terror wherever it might rear its ugly head. He treats all who have done the same as brothers and sisters and treats them accordingly. When his Northern New Hampshire friend and neighbor, Jose Pequeno, was horribly wounded in Iraq Audrius was right there to help Jose's family. Seeing this in Audrius restores my faith in humanity. Seeing how easily some other veterans have raided Audrius' family for their own gain and openly worked to deny him justice without even giving pause to hear his side of the story . . . Well, I'm a writer, but I don't have words for that . . .
If you talk to an inmate on the phone and don't live right near the prison this service will save you money. Tell them I sent you.
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What
we do for others and the world remains, and is immortal."
I dedicate all that I write to Audrius Kazenas, my friend, brother and mentor. This man who risked everything to help end Soviet oppression in Eastern Europe and bring an end to the Cold War was taken from those who love and value him by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) the day before Thanksgiving, 2008. He was held in prison for three and a half years, serving hard time for no crime. We prayed for his safe return to his children and he is now out on bail as his case continues. I missed you every day, my brother . . . we all missed you.
Hey - here's an oldie, but goodie. . .
"One nation, under God, With Liberty and Justice for all."
Remeber that one?
Quick - what's it from?!
"I have great respect for judicial system and law enforcement. Courts and police protect individuals like soldiers protect the nations. It is hard, underpaid, under-appreciated work, which exposes one doing it to the worst side of human nature. I have great respect for the job that DHS was created to do. I don’t think that there is justification for targeting unarmed civilians for whatever reason; people who do that are terrorists, regardless to their personal loss or suffering. And if you resort to terror in retaliation to terror, you are terrorist, just like the guy that you are trying to get. You are not 'avenger' or 'freedom fighter' just because other guy came up with this first."
Rantings of an Untamed Itch
"Do not do this in the name of the American people. This is not justice, and where there is no justice there can be no freedom."
"First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me."
Rev. Martin Niemoller
"Evil can not win. Anything that is based on destruction and non-survival carries within it the seeds of its ultimate end." From: Hope
Mohamed Amine Hamada was finally released from prison on December 23, 2009. After a year and a half in prison he was offered voluntary departure by ICE and he chose to return to Algeria rather than continue the torturous existence he and those he loves endured at the hands of ICE. He chose to leave the U.S. and go to a country he does not know - away from his friends and community, away from his family that loves him. Remember . . . Amine committed no crime. He came hree as a refugee at the age of two. He is 100% a young American. Is this the shelter we offer those who turn to us in time of need?
STILL KICKIN’ . . .
The day before Thanksgiving of 2008 our close and valued friend, Audrius Kazenas, was picked up by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). I am still writing to him and visiting him in prison. The statement below was what I wrote the week after he was taken from us. I leave it as evidence – evidence of how badly such an experience can affect even the strongest citizen. I’ve recovered my footing to some degree and am dealing with the situation – am learning much about a world that someone like me would normally never know. I am dealing with and trying to survive the constant financial predation that our prison system employs to shake down those who have friends and family held within it as well as the demoralizing mental torture that ICE inflicts upon those who value someone they have targeted.
Audrius remains in danger. As long as that is so I will stand by his side, fully engaged in the cause for a more humane immigration and justice system – one that recognizes that we, the citizens of the United States of America, have rights. That all in this country, citizen or immigrant, have human rights. That we are a great nation because we respect those rights.
Initially I had hoped this would be quickly resolved and I could return my attention to lighter subjects. No longer. No matter what happens to Audrius, I have vowed to continue monitoring this country's actions within it's immigration and justice system. So here it is – my first response to loosing a friend to the government written in the days when I did not even yet know who it was that I was dealing with::
"Warning: I am in a very dark place right now. I’ve lived for the last month in the clutches of INS. No, I’m not here illegally or personally in trouble with them. I’ve broken no laws. I trace back to the founding families of this country, Dunham, Sherman and Poole, so my body is safe from being removed. INS could never touch my world, or so I thought, but lately it is absorbing all my attention, sucking the joy from my body, the faith from my soul.
This has been one of the most heart-wrenching times I have ever experienced. How could this happen in my life? I am a citizen, damn it! My ancestors fought and died to make this country free. I should not know how the grip of INS crushes the soul. I should not feel how their talons rip mercilessly, but I now know and I now feel. It has forever changed my perception of this country, of justice, and of myself. I will eventually be released, but the wounds are already deep. Each time I struggle they sink deeper still, but I can not help but struggle.
I have lived in this body for 59 years and bear many scars already, we all do. Life is hard on this planet. But these wounds – these wounds are different. The scars they leave, of helplessness, a sudden realization of expendability – these scars are harsher, crueler, like no other. Will they ever heal completely? I do not know, can not know until INS is satisfied and releases its hold. All I can say for now you will find in my essay, “A Bid for Compassion,” in the Human Rights section of this site. I wish I could say more – perhaps when this is over – probably sooner as eventually I will loose patience and speak out anyway. For now, your prayers are needed and appreciated.
An ally to the USA against Cold War Soviet oppression, an internationally recognized human rights hero here legally and never having committed a crime - in a US prison for over 3 years
The leader of a Christian prayer group dead in ICE custody
A refugee here since a baby, doing hard time for no crime while he fights being deported to a country he does not know
An insulin dependent diabetic in need of dialysis nearly killed through neglect
A broken jaw left untreated for years
DESPERATE PLEAS FROM THE HELPLESS HUMAN BEINGS FOR HUMANE TREATMENT FROM AN APPROPRIATELY NAMED AGENCY - I CHALLENGE YOU TO READ THESE AND NOT BE MOVED . . .
RESOURCES AND LINKS
Deborah Sherman de Santos
"Old Chinese proverb: “If we do not change the direction we are going we are likely to end up where we are headed.” I think hat applies outside of China as well." From You Say Midlife Crisis Like It's a Bad Thing
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hear from you. If you have something you feel I should know about,
or if you’d just like to touch bases do it!