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Penny's Story...One of the Missing
from Tampa Bay Independent Media Center
Entered into the database on Wednesday, March 30th, 2005 @ 21:12:21 MST


Untitled Document The information on the website has the following as the first sentence. This was what broke my heart; "This is a true story of how in one day with no warning two, American children Dereck and Sandra McClurg lost their single mother to the Department of Homeland Security on July 01, 2004."

Let's just imagine for a moment the following scenario...a beautiful young 33 year old woman, a White South Africaaner, permanent resident in the US for over 15 years, owner of a successful business and a gorgeous home, with two children born in the USA, one failed marriage and a new love in her life with plans for a future together and talk of a wedding. And Penny, 6 weeks pregnant, filled with hope with her new man and new relationship. She had committed a crime, years ago, but she had done her time and paid her debt to society--the only blemish on her past in the middle of a life that she had worked so hard to make successful while giving back to her community in thanks by doing the work she does. Everything seems fine and love and the future are looking rewarding. No one seemed to know about the danger lurking...

This same woman gets an official document stating that she must meet some governmental officials at Tampa International Airport at Airside F. Not for anything serious, she is assured that the meeting will be a simple one, just to answer a few questions. This young lady goes to the appointed meeting. No one at this particular office within the airport knows why she is there. She has waits for five hours. Since the office does not seem to know the purpose of why Penny was asked to come and has no record of any appointment with this young lady, she is asked to come back the next day and she does this in good faith. The next day she is escorted from Airside F by a Homeland Security Official and she is told that all of her questions will be answered at her next destination. The official cannot tell her where she is going, only that she is being officially detained. She is not permitted legal representation. There are no charges recorded or filed. There are no provisions or custodial plans made for her minor children. Instead there are Human Rights violations committed. She is carted away to Turner Guilford Knight County Jail Immigration Unit in Miami in handcuffs and shackles.

And the situation spirals downward. Several days later, Penny asks to be seen by medical personal as she is concerned about her pregnant condition and the stress brought on by her sudden detention and her requests are ignored for several days. A few weeks later she starts to miscarry. On July 15th, 2004 she is taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital and sits in the waiting room in an orange prison uniform and in shackles and handcuffs and two guards present at all times. Doctors and Triage make no notice of her until she starts to hemorrhage in the waiting room after hours of sitting there with no medical attention. She is then given a DNC without an anesthetic.The anesthetic is given to her AFTER the medical procedure to kill the pain. She is dragged to the DOC truck after the procedure and taken immediately back to the holding facility. To this date, she has never had a follow up appointment with a doctor.

You are thinking, she must have committed a crime that she has not done time for or is guilty of some kind of some sort of terrorist activity. Otherwise, you say, this could NEVER happen in America! Oh, REALLY? Well, it HAS!

Penny has been detained with no specific charges since July 1, 2004. The official reason for her detention is for what is called a "deferred inspection." This resulted from a cruise Penny took in June of 2003. She had left the States and then re-entered within a 4 day period. Legally she should have had her resident alien card taken at that time and substituted with a temporary card to be updated to a more permanent ID card later. This did not happen. Instead, she was allowed to leave and re-enter within a short period of time during those dates, again in September of 2003 and then again in May of 2004.

It would seem that something like this could be easy and simple to rectify by checking paperwork. It would seem that all of this could be taken care of with Penny on the "outside," taking care of her children, being with her family, working and being a productive member of her community. It would ALSO seem that this is a government screw up that Penny is being held liable for, and in the process it has destroyed her life and the lives of her children, fiance and family. Penny is aware of many other stories about women who have been abruptly seperated from their children in the same way she has been.

Penny has been told by legal counsel that if she is allowed and chooses to be deported, she will probably never again be able to return to the States. If she chooses to stay and fight, her detention could be indefinite. Penny has been a permanent resident here in the US since 1991 when she was 15 years old and to her knowledge, her status has and had never changed.

This has been a nightmare for her fiancee, Eric and her children and father who are taking care of her business and home. Eric, her financee is a 10 year Navy veteran and is appalled at how this case ie being handled and worried about his fiancee, her medical condition and the stress that she is under. He and Penny's father are taking care of the children. No governmental agency has ever checked on the status of the children and their situation to this date. One can only imagine the repercussions of what would have happened if there was not anyone to take the children. They would have been swallowed up by the State with no way for anyone to trace their whereabouts. This is not in accordance with American standards, for no one to have a voice for these children and to check on their care. Eric wants the world to know that these kind of atrocities, those of the 'DISAPPEARED," that one would think could only be happening in the Third World are happening right here in the USA.

Penny says that in every way this is NOT a holding facility for illegal immigrants but is a jail and all the daily procedures are the same; lights out, lock down four times a day, formations and searches. She sees visitors through glass, wears an orange prison uniform, has been temporarily detained in holding facilities that have been smeared with feces, has been refused medical care and is given unpotable drinking water and spoiled food. She is in contact with Eric as often as she can be, by phone, letter and when he can visit her. Penny's detention has been a surprise to everyone who knows her. Eric has tried desperately to get the news out and has contacted government officials and media and no one has picked up on Penny's story.

Please help Eric, Penny and the children!