Few Details on Immigrants Who Died in U.S. Custody

Obviously, I was a little younger then and I more easily fit the definition of "naive"; still, it is troubling to me how often I find stories that trouble me so, when I turn to a newspaper that literally at one time was a joy for me to read.

In college, I worked as a coop-student at Eastman Kodak and as my Dad worked at Kodak too, we would ride into work together. Obviously, the work day for a coop-student ends well before the workday of a 20-year employee, so the need to kill some time was a frequent one. (Just to further date myself) I would wait for my Dad at the Kodak library, reading the periodicals on the business, but most often picking up the day's New York Times and immerse myself within "All the News that's Fit to Print". While New York City was just a seven-hour drive from Rochester, NY - when reading all of the sections of the Times made it feel as though NYC was a completely different world: a more exciting world. And while that world also contained stories about Yusef Hawkins or teenagers arrested for "wilding" through Central Park, somehow I was able to gloss over the reports of murder and mayhem and believe in a city that represented the power and the glory of this country of ours.

Honestly, I never thought that I would continue to read stories of how young black men would repeatedly find their way to death for the slightest of cause - or no cause at all.

So it was on yesterday, when I picked up an electronic copy of the Times once more (I do miss the heft and the feel of a newspaper - but I love the convenience of online review) that I saw this story on Boubacar Bah; a 52 year-old tailor from Guinea, who died for the crime of over staying a tourist visa. Now the article tells us that 65 other people have also died in "immigrant custody" (a new term for me; yeah!), somehow I suspect that not a single person of Caucasian descent has ever died in this oddly framed, custodial world.

I am sure that this is just me, but I see all of the different terms we develop to refer to people - immigrant, illegal immigrant, alien, illegal alien - as just further gradients on the "non-person" scale. And as a former "non-person" - as the proud descendant of those once considered to be non-persons under the laws and jurisdictions of the United States of America - I want it to stop.

Stop taking people and creating classifications for us, which you then use to deny us the rights with which we were born into this world. Your own defining document - the Declaration of Independence - claims for the world to see that these rights are granted to us by our Creator and that they are inalienable rights.

Meaning these rights cannot be taken from us by any man, for any reason.I call on those who claim to have authority to live according to this creed or remove themselves from office.

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