Huffington Post reports on April 15 that another 41 refugees trying to reach Italy from North Africa were believed dead in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea, in addition to at least 400 others missing and presumed to have died when their boat capsized while making the same journey earlier this week. The same report states that, according to the UN's refugee agency, 219,000 refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean last year, and 3,500 died trying.


More Than 40 Feared Dead In New Mediterranean Shipwreck Tragedy

Just by way of comparison, the above number of virtually unnoticed, ignored people who lost their lives seeking to escape from poverty and dangerous conditions in North Africa is greater than the total number of people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The Huffpost also reports:

"...none of the 28 nations from the world's wealthiest trade bloc has pledged a single plane, a single ship or a single cent to add to the rescue effort."

The report also attributes this, at least in part, to "a growing anti-foreigner electorate" in many EU countries.

This gives a new and somber meaning to Virgil's line in the Aeneid 2,000 years ago, when he has the goddess Juno complain:

gens inimica mihi Tyrrhenum navigat aequor ("People whom I despise are sailing on the waters of the Tyrrhenian [Mediterranean] sea.")

Those people, as everyone familiar with the history of Europe knows, were also trying to reach Italy, according to legend. Virgil's lengthy poem, written toward the end of the 1st century BC, relates that they actually wound up in North Africa first, before eventually completing an arduous but finally successful journey to the Italian mainland, despite Juno's intense efforts to stop them from doing so at all costs.

Now, in the 21st century of our era, it is as if Juno were speaking, not just for herself, as in Virgil's immortal epic, but for many of the white countries of Europe when she uses the fateful words: gens inimica mihi.

Meanwhile, here in America, a group of detained mothers at the privately run Karnes City, Texas, immigration family detention center has launched a second hunger strike in protest against the Obama administration's policy of detaining Central American women and children even though they may have legally valid asylum claims.

In its April 14 article: Mothers Launch A Second Hunger Strike At Karnes City Family Detention Center, Huffington Post Latino Voices reports that some women and children have been detained at the facility for several months, and that signers of a petition to the ICE director calling for their release are facing retaliation by prison guards, including being locked up in isolation and denied the right to call their lawyers.

According to the same report, the private prison industry is partly responsible for the large number of detentions. In response to lobbyists for the industry, Congress has mandated that 34,000 immigrants must be detained at all times.

See also, Huffington Post Latino Voices:

Some Hunger - Striking Mothers Were Put In Isolation At Karnes Immigrant Detention Center, Lawyers Say

(April 2, 2015 - I do not have URLs for the above articles, but they should be accessible on the Huffpost website).

Arguably the biggest disgrace of all to America in the immigrant family detention scandal, even more that the casual brutality and inhumanity meted out by the private prison guards to women and children who had looked to America as a refuge from the very real fears of violence and death that so many of them have experienced in the gang ridden countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is the evident stranglehold that private prison companies have over the immigrant family detention system.

Huffington Post
provides more details in a third article, dated April 15, entitled:

"Bed Quota Fuels 'Inhumane' and 'Unnecessary' Immigrant Detention: Report"

The Huffpost article, among other things, reports:

"The [34,000] detention bed mandate was first inserted into the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010. Today, private companies control about 62 per cent of the immigrant detention beds used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the report [by Grassroots Leadership, an Austin, Texas-based non-profit]...Of the ten largest immigrant detention centers in the country, nine are operated by private companies."

But this is only the beginning of the disgraceful facts regarding control of America's immigration system by private companies whose profits depend on locking up as many immigrants as possible, and for as long as possible.

To be continued in Part 2.

Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping employment-based and family-based immigrants overcome the obstacles of our immigration system and attain their goals of living and working in America legally for more than 30 years.

Roger welcomes questions and comments at