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Why did the U.S. detain Mexican boxer Alfredo Angulo?

August 16, 2012|By Sandra Hernandez
  • Alfredo Angulo of Mexico, left, fighting American Juan Jamal McPherson in 2003 at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic.
Alfredo Angulo of Mexico, left, fighting American Juan Jamal McPherson… (Omar Torres/AFP Photos )

Middleweight boxer Alfredo Angulo has had some tough fights in his career, including 17 knockouts, according to the Ring, a website that bills itself as the bible of boxing. But the Mexican pugilist may not have been prepared for his latest battle that required he spend eight months in an El Centro immigration detention facility.

The big question is why Angulo was detained in the first place. He reportedly overstayed his U.S. visa, but he had no criminal record, circumstances that typically aren't supposed to land someone in detention. Yet that's exactly what happened after he turned himself in to authorities at the California facility located near the Mexican border in January.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has set out guidelines that say only those immigrants who pose a threat to the community, are a flight risk or who have been convicted of a violent felony or drug crime should be incarcerated. The logic behind the policy is simple: Federal immigration officials want to stretch their enforcement dollars. It costs more than $100 a day to detain immigrants but far less to use electronic devices to ensure they show up in court. So it makes sense to reserve detention space for the most serious cases.

Angulo clearly didn’t fit any of the detention requirements. I can't help but wonder how many other immigrants are being detained when they are clearly good candidates for cheaper and more efficient alternatives to detention.

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