Bike messenger, racer and co-founder of Greenpoint Bikes Pablo Airaldi was arrested last month, and now faces deportation, because of a 10-year-old felony conviction in another state for stealing car parts. When he was 18.
Two years ago, legal permanent resident (since he was nine) Airaldi visited Canada, where border guards briefly detained him and told him that old arrest was a deportable offense. But he thought little of it until the government seized him in November, spirited him away to a facility in New Jersey, and began deportation proceedings.
Thanks Federal government, for protecting our neighborhoods from valued, productive members of our communities!
Airaldi becomes one of the half-million detained immigrants in the country, held in despicable conditions in for-profit prison facilities. We reported on these facilities, at least one of which is within our city limits, in a feature last year, in which one expert described the conditions as “better than Haiti.”
According to the Brooklyn Paper, Airaldi wrote about the conditions of his stay in a letter to friends.
Try to ask for toilet paper and you are laughed at…We go months without feeling the sun, are forced to hand wash our underwear every night because we are only given one pair, go hungry if no one sends us money because the food is not enough and there is a 13-hour span from dinner to breakfast. Men begin to lose their sanity and then you can actually see them slip away, their light getting dimmer and dimmer with each indignity.
We should punish everyone thusly for the indiscretions they commit as 18 year olds.