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Constitutional Rights Lacking, Immigrants Languish in U.S. Prisons

Boston Globe: Irene Bamenga had her plane ticket to go home. The 29-year-old, carrying a bag of medications to treat a life-threatening heart condition, had planned to return to France and wait out her application for permanent residence in the United States before rejoining her husband in Lynn.

Bamenga had stayed in the United States much longer than she was supposed to under a visa waiver program, but she was exactly the kind of person immigration agents are officially encouraged not to put in jail: She had no criminal record, a husband in the country legally, and a heart condition — and she was trying to leave on her own anyway.

Still, when border agents discovered Bamenga was here illegally as the couple tried to drive to Canada for her flight in July 2011, the young woman ended up in handcuffs and a belly chain, joining 33,000 other immigrants across the country that day who were prisoners of the Department of Homeland Security.

Twelve days later, Irene Bamenga was dead...

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