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Life Magazine In our histories, we find both sides of this story. We choose which side to remember. The picture, full across both pages stretches out his pain. He cannot look at the photographer, even if he wanted to. Twelve years old, he is tortured then hanged for looking at a white woman. He cannot remember what he ate for breakfast, that he missed school last week. He only knows the pulled ache in his shoulder, his numbed hands, the scrape of the tree, rough against his cheek. The hangman stands outside this picture. He is afraid for his job, fears the blue tinged fingers of his daughter when the heat shuts off, his belly churning gas with hunger, eating beans three times a day. He pulls the rope through his hands, a tremor in his fingers as he tests the knot, sure it will hold. Nothing separates me from the man at the noose except time. Nothing separates me from this boy except the gloss of the page. NIARISSA MARTINEZ “Mining Data,” from page 5 “takeout program” requiring companies to offer standard-rate insurance to drivers who’ve been in TAIPA for three years and maintained a good driving record. And last month, as part of an ongoing investigation begun after the C.E.J. reports were issued, agency staff recommended that Nationwide be fined $10 million for illegal discrimination in auto insurance. \(Nationwide is one of the worst offenders nationally, and has recently been slapped with large damages awards in discriminaThe recent auto insurance follies in Texas are part of a larger trend. A study just released by the Association of Community examined home purchase mortgage data for thirty-five cities and found that “racial disparities in lending are significant, and increasing…. Though there were improvements in the trends in the early part of the decade, many of the gains made by African Americans and Latinos have disappeared.” Companies’ risk classification schemes have simply become “hyperactive,” says Birnbaum. “It’s not just auto insurance, but you look at credit, any number of things where the poor pay more, not just in percentage but in actual dollar amounts. It’s just denying poor people the opportunity to get out of this incredible burden that they’re under.” “Limbo,” from page 6 space for them, and that’s a fact,” says Andrew Luberes of I.N.S. in Washington. One sheriff in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, turned three abandoned schools into a sort of medium security “migra motel,” where hundreds of I.N.S. inmates are held, earning his community millions of federal dollars. The Cuban prisoners are a special case. Many are classified as deportable aliens, yet they cannot be deported, since the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Cuba. Theoretically, they could be sent to a third country, but the chances are slim of finding a cooperative host. “The I.N.S. has no intention of deporting them,” says D’Ann Johnson, an Austin attorney who has located volunteer legal aid for several Cuban inmates, both in Bastrop and in Victoria. “They intend to keep them ‘administratively detained’ indefinitely,” she says. Indeed, even I.N.S. memos refer to Cubans in this category as “lifers.” Others Cubans are eligible for parole, but cannot find a sponsor to vouch for them. And some seem to be simply lost in the system, without access to legal representation or even their own records. Such is the situation for many detained in Bastrop, where the Cubans in question will now have to do without the intermittent benevolence of Sergeant Campos-Cisneros. And what about the Cubans described in last summer’s Current article? Four months later, fortune has favored a few. Two Cubans featured in the story, Alexi Estrada and Norberto Gomez, have been released to their sponsors. But five inmates with notices of release dated April 15 have yet to be released, for unexplained reasons, according to Johnson. And three, including Luis Terry, one of Johnson’s clients, simply disappeared. After several days on the phone, Johnson learned her client had been moved to a federal detention facility in Alabama. “They didn’t tell me, they didn’t even tell the men that they were going to do it,” Johnson says. She has learned that the I.N.S. intends to move all of the “lifer” Cubans from county jails into federal detention centers, more suited to longterm incarceration, by the year 2000. “There is a certain logic to it,” Johnson concedes. “In county jails, they can’t work, and they have no facilities of any kind.” In Bastrop, Cubans aren’t even allowed into the yard, because they are considered an escape risk. Many have nothing to lose. Terry and the other Cubans recently sent to Talladega, Alabama have been placed in administrative lockdown, which means they spend twenty-three hours per day in their cells. The director at the Talladega facility told Johnson that the I.N.S. contract specifically stipulated lockdown, though he couldn’t say why. And Terry seems to have been selected at random; several others like him in Bastrop and in Victoria have yet to be relocated. They remain in limbo in county jails, while the federal dollars continue to roll in from Washington. NOVEMBER 20, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21