Beyond the Shadow of Lady Liberty

By Greg Moses

There are some people who live in the shadow of Lady Liberty, and some people who don’t.

We feel nothing but sympathy for Mamadou Soumare, the much publicized New York cabdriver, whom immigration authorities will allow to return to the USA after he buries his family in Mali.

And we feel nothing but heartache for Radi Hazahza, the widely ignored Texas vehicle inspector whom immigration authorities will not release to the embrace of his living family until at least the end of April.
Toward the arbitrary gavels of power that grant humanitarian treatment, international press coverage, and involvement of a US Senator in one case, while the other case begs for anything that could be counted on two hands–we feel nothing but rage.

Our readers lately have turned to symbols of Civil War to make sense of the moral gravity we feel about the struggles that surround us. And the contrast between news from New York and Texas does remind us of the difference between blue and gray.

As Jay Johnson-Castro prepares for a walk next week to dramatize the injustice of immigrant detention, he sends a list:

The Rio Grande Valley is home to several detention facilities. Other than the newly built county jails in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties, there are the Segovia State Prison, Lopez State Prison, La Villa Detention Center, Wackenhut Detention Center, and the federal detention centers for immigrants in Raymondville and Bayview.

When we compare the political economies of New York City with the Rio Grande Valley or the Texas Rolling Plains, we do find Civil War parallels in contrasting maturities of industrial development.

Yet we do not forget that New York also has its prisons and immigrant detention hells, which also get ignored more than they get reported. And although the jails of New York are mixed into neo-liberal development, we do not forget that their functions are no different than the ones in Texas.

So we ask for something besides a military-prison economy in Texas, but we ask for something better than even New York has seen. Today it looks like the shadow of Lady Liberty covers New York better than Texas, but we’ve been down Malcolm X Boulevard, where the shadow of Lady Liberty’s gown also blows this way and that.

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