Asylum Seekers Greeted With Shackles and Chains

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The New York Times reported last week that a bipartisan federal commission has found that the Bush administration, “in its zeal to secure the nation’s borders and stem the tide of illegal immigrants, may be leaving asylum seekers vulnerable to deportation and harsh treatment.”

This comes after a 2005 report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom which found that immigration officials are far from welcoming when it comes to refugees fleeing persecution. The study found that asylum seekers have been incarcerated in prisonlike facilities while they wait to have their claims heard (if they haven’t been already expedited), essentially being treated as criminals.

The study also documents inhumane treatment: in one Illinois county jail, the staff used “handcuffs, bellychains, and leg shackles…when detainees leave the facility.” In addition, the study found that “the use of segregation, isolation, or solitary confinement for disciplinary reasons was widespread among the detention facilities that we sampled.”

Did you get that? You might be fleeing from torture, persecution and violence in your own country. Then you seek refuge in America- “the land of the free” – and guess what you find? More inhumane treatment!

—Neha Inamdar

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest