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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES PLANS TO REFORM ICE DETENTION SYSTEM

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Those of you who have been reading this blog awhile will recall the many posts I've written regarding major problems in the system of detention for immigrants facing potential deportation. Nina Bernstein of the New York Times reports this morning that the White House will enact a series of reforms designed to curb abuses. Some of the promised changes are vague, but an immediate step will be an end to sending families to the Hutto detention facility in Texas, a location that has been the source of many complaints.The Administration is apparently looking at more alternatives to detention for non-violent immigrants. From the Times:

But [ICE chief] Mr. Morton, a career prosecutor, said he was taking a new philosophical approach to detention -- that the system's purpose was to remove immigration violators from the country, not imprison them, and that under the government's civil authority, detention is aimed at those who pose a serious risk of flight or danger to the community.

Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, said last week that she expected the number of detainees to stay the same or grow slightly. But Mr. Morton added that the immigration agency would consider alternative ways to assure that those who face deportation -- and are not dangerous -- do not flee.

Reviewing and redesigning all facilities, programs and standards will be the task of a new Office of Detention Policy and Planning, he said. Dora Schriro, special adviser to Ms. Napolitano, will become the director, assisted by two experts on detention management and medical care. The agency will also form two advisory boards of community groups and immigrant advocates, one focusing on detention policies and practices, the other on detainee health care.

Mr. Morton said he would appoint 23 detention managers to work in the 23 largest detention centers, including several run by private companies, to ensure that problems are promptly fixed. He is reorganizing the agency's inspection unit into three regional operations, renaming it the Office of Detention Oversight, and making its agents responsible for investigating detainee grievances as well as conducting routine and random checks.

The ACLU is happy about the announced changes, but remains cautious:

"The ending of family detention at Hutto is welcome news and long
overdue," she said in an e-mail message. "However, without
independently enforceable standards, a reduction in beds, or basic due
process before people are locked up, it is hard to see how the
government's proposed overhaul of the immigration detention system is
anything other than a reorganization or renaming of what was in place
before."

Ms. Gupta said the changes at Hutto since 2006
illustrated the importance of enforceable rules. Before the A.C.L.U.
lawsuit was settled in 2007, some children under 10 stayed as long as a
year, mainly confined to family cells with open toilets, with only one
hour of schooling a day. Children told of being threatened by guards
with separation from their parents, many of them asylum-seekers from
around the world.

Only through judicial enforcement of the
settlement, she said, have children been granted such liberties as
wearing pajamas at night and taking crayons into family cells. The
settlement also required the agency to honor agency standards that had
been ignored, like timely reviews of the decision to detain a family at
all. Some families have been deported, but others were released or are
now awaiting asylum decisions in housing run by nonprofit social
service agencies.

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Comments

  1. dprosenthal's Avatar
    What is it about the word 'illegal' does this country not understand? However, unless convicted of another crime, why must we pay to keep them anywhere? It would be much less expensive to send them home and really close our borders.
  2. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "What is it about the word 'illegal' does this country not understand?"

    Adultery is a crime in South Carolina. Yes, it is illegal to cheat on your spouse. What it is about 'illegal' SC Governor and Attorney General not understand? Why don't them convict him of a crime, which he publicly confessed to, and lock him up?
  3. Another voice's Avatar
    Well....dprosenthal since you clearly display limited intelligence in your comments, there are these things called human rights!!! and apparently these detention centers violate them regularly, no one is saying that they should not operate them but clearly they are not doing a good job doing so!!!!
  4. Legal-immigrant's Avatar

    Greg,
    Unrelated to the above post, but thought you might find this study interesting.

    for all those who say Mexican immigrants brings decease to US - it goes both ways

    How to Get Cancer: Move to the United States

    http://www.livescience.com/health/090806-cancer-hispanics.html
  5. Legal-immigrant's Avatar

    argh...
    s/decease/disease/

    i guess the internet has some effect on ur language skills
  6. Jack's Avatar
    'It would be much less expensive to send them home'

    Yes, but they often just come right back. Detention, even for a relatively short time, is a deterrent but there are much more effective, less expensive deterrents which don't bring in all the issues which arise with detention. Of course, critics of Hutto tend to also be against those alternatives and are simply against a limited immigration system altogether or the enforcement needed for one to work. Of course, there are legitimate due process concerns but that can also be a fig leaf for categorical opposition--they will never be satisfied no matter what civil rights protections are in place. Whatever enforcement provisions might arise from a CIR will be faced with zealous efforts to delay, water down, and repeal. Ironically, many people who say 'fix the broken system' really want a limited system to be forever broken--in their minds, limiting is what makes it broken.
  7. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Yes, but they often just come right back."

    And why do they do it? Obviously, they have some sort of business in the US, and apparently, it is nothing criminal since we are not talking about criminal aliens here. In 95% of the cases, the real reason why they come right back is because they have families in the US.

    So, if someone has a family in the US (and most illegal aliens are in "mixed status" families), and is not a criminal, your solution is to keep them in jail indefinitely just because based on some totally stupid outlandish law they can't apply for permanent residence.

    Real smart.
  8. gg's Avatar
    Bad News !!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/07/sen-mel-martinez-resignin_n_253881.html
  9. George Chell's Avatar
    Bad news for the GOP! They can kiss Hispanic vote goodbye unless Jeb Bush is appointed the Senator by Charile Christ or one of the Cuban American congressman from Miami. McCollum would be a non starter.
  10. Jack's Avatar
    'your solution is to keep them in jail indefinitely'

    I said detention is not the policy of choice. For one thing, it's after-the-fact. Our policy is based at the door (border) and once you slip through a crack, you can get housing, work, school for your kids, etc. The smarter policy (that is, if you really want to succeed) is 'locking the cupboard', i.e., not being able to work, rent an apartment, apply for a mortgage, etc.


    'n 95% of the cases, the real reason why they come right back is because they have families in the US.'

    And why is that? Because under our current policies it is so easy to establish your family in a country you're not supposed to be in. People who play the 'divided families' card typically favor policies which create mixed status families.


  11. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Because under our current policies it is so easy to establish your family in a country you're not supposed to be in."

    So, what are you proposing: 1) barring legal immigrants married to illegal immigrants from obtaining citizenship and PR 2) barring marriages between citizens and non-citizens 3) mandatory vasectomies and tube tying for illegal immigrants 4) stripping good parents of their parental rights to citizen children and putting children in foster care 5) all of the above?

    Cause, you know, Jacks of the world know where all of you people belong, and who you are supposed to have a family with and who not. That's the sacred knowldge that has been given to the Jacks by the fact that they were born on this side of the border.
  12. Jack's Avatar
    I am referring to a policy of not lessening however many millions of illegal aliens from residing in your country. Letting that happen is what creates mixed status families. Your side always talks about what to do with the mixed status families after the fact. The case for amnesty is that it will fix the problem. The hitch is that if your side disfavors the measures which would actually prevent the situation, mixed status families will keep forming and a rolling amnesty policy does nothing about the cause.

    The same goes with DREAM Act situations. What do DREAM Act supporters propose which would prevent such situations from arising? One philosophy is prevention--the other is nullify immigration laws on a rolling, ad hoc basis. That seems to be their 'solution'. I would take amnesty (in whichever form) proponents more seriously if they were serious about prevention of the next time.

  13. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Yes, Jack, that concludes your logical argument - there so many illegals here because there so many illegals here. Nice job.
  14. Jack's Avatar
    Your sarcasm is unappreciated. I'll take it as a dodge of the arguments I make. I can't make them any clearer than I have already.
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