Dying for a visa

2 Jun

I thought I was done for a while with writing plays about war and refugees– so far, two full length pieces and two shorter plays.

However, I have been thinking about this a lot.

From the New York Times:
“He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.”

This happened in Rhode Island. From the Wyatt prison’s viewpoint, it’s nakedly about money–the need for prisons to make a buck. Human rights don’t even figure near that bottom line. Prisons should not be run for profit. And nobody should be detained indefinitely without trial. I”ve seen what happens in Australia when this was done to asylum seekers. Suicides, mental illnesses, lives destroyed.

What it’s about from Homeland Security’s POV is truly hard to fathom. A combination of malice and stupidity?


One Response to “Dying for a visa”

  1. Marisela June 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm #

    Oh Christine, this was such a heart-wrenching article. I haven’t read something that made me cry like this article did. Thank you for posting it on your blog.

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