Lost in Detention: Illinois immigrants in documentary by Maria Hinojosa

Lost in Detention: Illinois immigrants in documentary by Maria Hinojosa
Maria Hinojosa

Last night I watched the PBS FRONTLINE documentary "Lost in Detention" an investigation reported by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa in conjunction with the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University's School of Communication.

Everybody should watch this to gain a fuller understanding of President Obama's immigration enforcement policy. More than one million undocumented immigrants have been deported under his administration. The documentary also examines the controversial Secure Communities program that allows local law enforcement to check federal immigration databases that is resulting in record deportations.

Some of those deported are violent criminals but many are mothers and fathers who get pulled over for minor traffic violations and wind up being separated from their U.S. citizen children.

Hinojosa reports on families from Kane County and Lake County, Ill. She also interviewed Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who expressed reservations about Secure Communities.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced in May that he was pulling the state out of the Secure Communities program, the first state to do this. However, the state can't force the federal government to halt the program.

Others from Illinois in the documentary include U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, local immigration activist Emma Lozano with Centro Sin Fronteras, Maria de los Angeles "Nena" Torres, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Josh Hoyt with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

The documentary also looks at some of the serious abuses immigrants have faced while at the Willacy Detention Center in Texas.

Hinojosa and other journalists will participate today in a live chat about the documentary at 12 p.m. Central time.

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