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Holiday On Ice
That was the premise of a hearing Wednesday by the House immigration subcommittee, where Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) and Steve King (R-Iowa), argued that reforms to immigrant detention by President Barack Obama's administration , including medical treatment and protection of detainees, were too generous.
In the hearing, titled "Holiday on ICE" -- a punny reference to an ice skating movie and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- opponents of detention reform said detention centers were becoming like "college campuses" or "Mayberry," the fictional little town where "The Andy Griffith Show" was set....
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said Gallegly, the subcommittee chairman, called her earlier in the day to say he regretted the way the hearing was named. Gallegly skipped over the phrase "posh detention facility" from his prepared remarks, instead referring simply to "the detention facilities."
I went to CSPAN and just could not locate a video of the hearing but I check out this link and others because I could not, for the life of me, figure out what the Repubs were getting at. I mean this hearing held by the subcommittee—like most repub hearings in the House—was for show but I was really attempting to get at where the anger was coming from.
Well King and the other fascists are claiming that somehow we are coddling the illegal aliens by providing them with posh circumstance including laptops and big screen tv's with HBO and feeding them steaks and ale and caviar and such.
So I simply spent a few hours checking the net for facts concerning our nation's attempt to find and ultimately deport immigrants who lack proper papers.
As Greenwald might have warned me, our 'progressive' President has stepped up deportation on a level I never would have guessed. I mean, if Bush were doing this I would have been screaming to high heaven.
Take a look at what I found:
The U.S. government detained approximately 380,000 people in immigration custody in 2009 in a hodgepodge of about 350 facilities at an annual cost of more than $1.7 billion. Did you know?
Immigrants in detention include families, both undocumented and documented immigrants, many who have been in the US for years and are now facing exile, survivors of torture, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children, and individuals who are seriously ill without proper medication or care.
Being in violation of immigration laws is not a crime. It is a civil violation for which immigrants go through a process to see whether they have a right to stay in the United States. Immigrants detained during this process are in non-criminal custody. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency responsible for detaining immigrants.
The average cost of detaining an immigrant is approximately $122 per person/ per day. Alternatives to detention, which generally include a combination of reporting and electronic monitoring, are effective and significantly cheaper, with some programs costing as little as $12 per day. These alternatives to detention still yield an estimated 93% appearance rate before the immigration courts.
Although DHS owns and operates its own detention centers, it also “buys” bed space from over 312 county and city prisons nationwide to hold the majority of those who are detained (over 67%). Immigrants detained in these local jails are mixed in with the local prison population who is serving time for crimes.
And the total numbers?
The drastic expansion of mandatory detention combined with skyrocketing detention budget appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) and changes in DHS policies and priorities favoring detention. As a result, the number of individuals detained has grown dramatically since the 1990s. In 2001, the U.S. detained approximately 95,000 individuals. By 2010, the number of individuals detained annually in the U.S. had grown to approximately 390,000. The average daily population of detained immigrants has grown from approximately 5,000 in 1994, to 19,000 in 2001, and to over 33,000 by the end of 2010. ICE’s stated goal is to deport 400,000 non-citizens each year.
I even found a link to Individual Stories which are heartbreaking. I mean mothers lose their children, husbands lose their wives, brothers lose their sisters....
Speaking of statements hit the link provided and read:
Chairman Lamar Smith: On February 28, 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released about 400 pages of new Performance Based National Detention Standards. But the administration’s new detention manual reads more like a hospitality guideline for illegal immigrants....
Oh and here is a segment from an article in the LA Times discussing this hearing and discussing facts that the repubs ignore just as they ignore facts during discussions of their solutions to other domestic and foreign issues :
In a hearing titled “Holiday on ICE,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, took aim at recent administrative changes designed to improve medical care for detainees, reduce incidents of sexual abuse, increase access to safe water and outdoor recreation, among other reforms.
ICE made the changes after coming under fire from news reports, human rights groups and internal investigations for putting immigrants who have not been convicted of crimes in detention facilities plagued by sexual assaults and inadequate medical care...
“Detention is no holiday,” said Greg Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Asnn., who attended the hearing. “I think they should be embarrassed to describe people who are deprived of their liberty as if they were on vacation...”
There are more than 33,000 immigrants and asylum seekers held in local and county jails and other detention facilities across the country. Many are waiting for an immigration judge to decide whether they will be deported.
The Obama administration has deported more people than any previous administration. Last year, 396,906 people were deported, a record number for the third year in a row.
I found this next link concerning the Dallas Field Office:
During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 2,052 detainees housed at the Dallas Field Office Holding Facility left that facility because they were deported, were released under supervision while their cases were being decided, or left ICE detention for one of a variety of other reasons. This is a special ICE holding area or staging location that under current ICE detention standards is allowed to temporarily house aliens for up to 12 or 16 hours. These types of units generally have no sleeping quarters or shower facilities.
Those individuals who departed from this facility because they were leaving ICE detention made up 91 percent of the 2,253 detainees housed at this facility during the last 12 months. This report focuses on the reasons these individuals left ICE detention. Sometimes this report speaks of these individuals as those "exiting" ICE detention, or simply as "exits." The other 9 percent remained in ICE detention but were transferred from the Dallas Field Office Holding Facility to other facilities.
And I think, everyone here certainly is aware of those wonderful accommodations for our immigrants in Arizona. You will have to check out the links cause I cannot download them (because I do not know how! ha)
So my conclusion is that none of the accommodations provided to those we would gather up and deport are anything approaching some minimum security accommodations for a Wall Street thug or some other white person imprisoned for 'non-lethal' crime.
Most of the time the immigrant who lacks proper papers is stuck in some jail cell or some prison cell even though he will never be charged formally with a crime.
In the Arizona example, the non-criminal is housed with dangerous felons under tents in 115 degree heat with green bologna and pink underwear.
These incarcerated dreamers (dreaming of the American Dream) are subject to disease, subject to rape and other violence and ultimately subject to death.
This Administration was simply attempting to respond to objections made by the ACLU and SPLC and other humane groups who underline these problems related to our immigration policies as well as our deportation policies.
ICE was simply working on methods to lessen the disease, lessen the violence and lessen the fatalities for those who really have committed no crime.
Now that we are up to half a million immigrants as far as this new attempt at a round-up and deportation scheme, SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE!
However, I did find a link demonstrating how the House Repubs will handle our deportation issues once they take the Senate and put a good corporate front in the WH: