Finally, this morning an I.C.E. employee called me back. I had started calling on Wednesday for bonding and release information for an African student who is in I.C.E. custody.
And today? At 8:00AM it was too late for I.C.E. to transport the detainee from McHenry County Jail (detention center) to the release point at 101 West Congress, Chicago..
When people in this country get fed up with red tape, things will finally change around here. Are we approaching that point? I hope so!
It started with the incomplete bonding-out procedure on the I.C.E. website.
Then with the voicemail that every I.C.E. employee seems to have, in order to avoid answering their telephones. The person I needed to talk with on Wednesday didn't pronounce her name clearly in her message, but she is the one who handles cases for detainees whose Registration Number ends in -899. I left a message for her, but she didn't bother to call back.
When I called her on Thursday, her voicemail message indicated she was taking a long week-end and provided the name and telephone number of her supervisor, an Ofc. Pauley.
Two calls to Ofc. Pauley were not returned on Thursday, even though I left specific details about the reason for my call.
On Friday morning at 8:04AM an I.C.E. employee called me and told me they require one day's notice of bonding out a detainee, so they can transport him to the Chicago release point. He said that this morning is too late to arrange that transportation. The fact that I had attempted to give notice on Wednesday and Thursday carried no weight. He acknowledged that I had good suggestions for improvements in their system; of course, that didn't do any good, either!
What I.C.E. doesn't "get" is that, if a judge can hold a removal hearing by video-conference, then certainly a final interview or release procedure could be conducted by video conference. There is no reason whatsoever that a detainee could not be released at the place of detention, except for some bureaucrats' heads stuck in their desk drawers.
I started calling Sen. Roland Burris' offices and Rep. Dan Lipinki's offices for help, since this African student lives in their districts. Not one of Rep. Lipinski's four office telephone numbers was answered; not one!
And at Sen. Burris' Chicago office? I wanted to speak with someone who had the authority to intervene, should s/he decide to do so. I asked if there was anyone there with any clout with Immigration. "Clout?" the young aide asked. I asked him if he knew what "clout" was, and he didn't. So I tried "influence." Then I left a message for a woman whose name could not be understood on her voicemail. Lori Vachez, maybe?
I'm sure I should just resign myself to accept that this kid will now sit for three more days in Sheriff Nygren's hotel at $90.00/day.
What has this stupid foray by I.C.E. cost? In housing alone, $1,620 ($90 x 18). Transportation? Court time? And the time of others, indirectly involved?
I have a strong suspicion that the arresting report of the I.C.E. agent was falsified, because the judge read from the report on Wednesday that the student had been out of school (thus, out-of-status) from January 2009 to February 2010. The fact is that he was in school full-time from January - December, 2009, and has the grades to prove it. He was out of school in January-February, 2010, only two months. Not 14 months.
Now, where is Janet Napolitano's address?