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Apr 5, 2013 1:05 PM by Ryan Haarer

Artists express feelings towards ICE detention in Arizona

TUCSON - Almost 410,000 immigrants were sent back to their home country last year. It's a record number of deportations for immigration and customs enforcement.

The process is catching the attention of local artists-- 12 of them have created pieces for an exhibit this weekend that will reflect their feelings on the deportation system; a system they feel is unjust and inhumane.

"Immigrant detainees do not have rights to legal counsel or to specific sentences. They can be held indefinitely unlike criminal detainees. So this is very worrisome that we have this huge population sitting in detention centers without basic human rights," said the exhibit curator, Wesley Creigh.

Whether you agree with Wesley or not the art makes you think. Saturday night's exhibit at Industria Studios will begin at 6:30 pm. Proceeds will go to helping the people these artists feel are treated unfairly.

"Proceeds of all the artwork and donations collected on the night of the opening will be going to the Florence Project which is a group of lawyers based out of the U of A that provide free legal counsel to detainees in Arizona detention centers," said, Wesley.

News 4 reached out to Immigration and Customs enforcement about the event and the views of the artists. Here is their statement:

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is sensitive to the fact that encountering those who violate our immigration laws may impact families. As outlined in the agency's June 2010 Civil Enforcement Priorities memo, ICE will typically not detain individuals who are the primary caretakers of children, unless the individual is legally subjected to mandatory detention based on the severity of their criminal or immigration history.

ICE uses prosecutorial discretion to release individuals in ICE custody for humanitarian reasons such as being the sole caregiver of minors and when we are aware that the detention of a non-criminal alien would result in any child (U.S. citizen or not) being left without an appropriate parental caregiver. ICE takes great care to evaluate cases that warrant humanitarian release. Additionally, ICE is continuing to work with stakeholders on additional progress related to parental rights and family unity. This includes a plan to disseminate resource materials addressing dependency proceedings and family law, authored in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Overall, ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement which prioritizes the removal of convicted criminal aliens, threats to national security, recent border crossers, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives."

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