[ 14. Aug 2007 ]

The Story of Sr. X - A Story From An ICE Detention Facility

This is the abbreviated story of a supposedly "illegal" human being in the US. It has been abbreviated for security reasons. All sensitive information has been removed.


Sr. X is an undocumented worker who resides in the West Coast. In 2007 he was taken in hand cuffs from his town by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and transported to a West Coast detention facility. There he was forced to put on one of three colors of jumpsuits. His jumpsuit was blue, the other colors being orange and red. Red signified the highest level of "illegality," orange the medium level and blue the lowest threat level. Sr. X was put into a large room that, while he was there, held 200 human beings. There were five toilets for everyone stuck there. Brazilians, Argentineans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, "Africans" and "Asians" (Sr. X's terms) made up the population of that cramped room.

Just as in any jail that human beings are confined in, the oppressive conditions fostered violence within the group, mostly between members of opposing gangs. Stripped of all human dignity, people naturally band together to create protective systems. Often times when people are in situations where protection and security are needed, they form gangs. Historically, gangs have formed when state oppression forces massive amounts of people into poverty. State oppression selectively stigmatizes entire groups of human beings along racial and economic lines. When this marginalization occurs, the oppressed can either directly oppose the State, steal from it in the form of gangs (while simultaneously stealing from itself) or work a normal job in its system. It is impossible to do anything else. Capitalism requires a large reserve army of "cheap labor" to allow it to adapt to the movements of the market and the workers of the oppressed groups serve this function for it.

The US itself created the most powerful gang in the Americas: Mara Salvatrucha 13. The gang began in Los Angeles in the early 1970s and due to deportation by Immigration the gang became active in El Salvador. Members who were deported soon recruited members in their countries and the gang now is active in Central America and the United States.

Gangs continue to be one of the only means with which the oppressed can survive in countries that they are forced for various reasons to travel to.

Sr. X saw the gangs operating in the detention facility just as they did in every prison on the planet. Sr. X did his best to stay uninvolved. He was only in for less than two months and could afford to not take sides. Food was provided three times a day but in insufficient portions. Detenidos were allowed to go outside three times a week and were allowed showers once a day. Only a few of the guards spoke Spanish. When an inmate didn't understand English the guards would not allow them to take a shower and revoked other "privileges." After less than two months of Sr. X's detainment he was put in handcuffs and shackles and shoved onto a plane with around two hundred other detainees. During the flight they were not allowed to speak or use the bathroom. It was up to the guards to decide when someone got to use the bathroom and some people peed their pants during the six-hour trip. They arrived at San Isidro airport and were transported to Tijuana by bus. There, they were detained another 24 hours and then let out on the streets without money or a place to go.

Sr. X, after a strange journey that most people cannot imagine, soon found himself back in his home of the past five years. This journey consisted of traveling along the border crossing with a coyote (who he soon left because he didn't like), getting lost in the desert without food or water for a while and taking a long, long bus ride. Back home, he is living the same life he was living before ICE briefly interrupted it.

Capitalism requires a "reserve labor force" and thus cannot deny that "reserve labor force" access to the country that its economy is operating in. The government is presenting, through its media, the natural operating of the Capitalist system as something else. It is telling everyone that this is a problem coming from without, that the causes are external.

Those Mexicans are the problem, it says. One group says if we put up enough walls and militarize the border we can "solve" the problem. The other group says if we funnel the "Mexicans" into legalized slave labor companies through a "guest worker program" we can "solve" the problem. The problem is not the "Mexican's" any more than it is the hundreds and hundred of other ethnic groups which comprise the vast population of immigrant workers in the US. The problem is not immigration. The problem is the system which forces people to migrate from country to country and then treats them as slaves with the luxury of buying bread from their masters. The problem is the fascist tactics this government is using to violently round up the people it needs in order to operate, the people it itself is pulling in from all over the world. The problem is the disgusting hypocrisy on the TV and the hollow words of the politicians and their corporate masters.

The politicians are trying to "comprehensively" solve this problem in Washington while the heads of the companies thriving off cheap, exploited labor buy them new houses and fancier clothes. There is no solution they can offer to this problem. They are the State. The State is an organism designed to control and regulate the lives of its population without its direct consent. This State, the country known as the United States, following the dictates of the Capitalist system that it operates under, is attempting to control its "reserve labor force" in a violent, forcible manner. These fascist tactics of the government will continue to grow in size unless we all see them for what they are to the thousands of those deported and locked up in this country: Hell.

Sr. X is a resilient and determined human being, a human to whom things like borders are meaningless. Sr. X will do whatever it takes to see the people he wants to see and live as he wants to live. Families are being ripped apart all around him and the community is full of fear. But he knows how to move quicker than the pigs who make people speak English and be an "American" just to take a shower. He has to take the risk of men with guns showing up in a mall that he is in and start scanning for "immigrants." ICE has done these things across the country. They are even taking the time to selectively target single parents in order to provide the illusion of efficiency to the public that believes its lies. Things are getting worse out there if you are an "illegal" human being like Sr. X. But he is living through it, waving a finger at the border that melts under his feet every time he crosses the desert. Humans will always be above the law if they simply wish to be. Laws can be powerful and weak. They can put us behind bars or under a lethal injection. They can rip apart our lives and leave us destroyed. But we can always see them as meaningless and not bow to them, even until the end.

Sr. X is everywhere around you right now. Sr. X is free.

In Loving Anarchy - Annie Nimmety and Sismo

First punblished in :: San Diego Indymedia