Thursday, August 6, 2009

DHS to stop sending families to HUTTO

A few days ago I was thinking about our current economic crisis. It occurred to me that the government would save billions of dollars if so many undocumented immigrants were not in detention. This group of people are living in contracted detention facilities in the U.S., at the cost of the government. They cannot work since they are incarcerated. Their families who are in the U.S. on the outside are in crisis, often needing costly social services.

Instead, our libraries are closing, plants are closing, unemployment benefits are limited, people are losing their houses because the government can't help them... but I guess that is OK for our government, since they seem to love paying money to private prison camps.... They are saying that the government will take the camps over... so now they will create their own work force to watch the huddled masses that we no longer care about.
If the Statue of Liberty had feelings, I wonder if she would cry to think about all the people in detention. The NYT says over 400,000 people are held in detention per year.
400,000 people.

Maybe this latest policy shift will be an improvement. Detainment camps for undocumented immigrants may get somewhat more comfortable, but they will still be prisons.


Published: August 5, 2009

...One move starts immediately: the government will stop sending families to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a former state prison near Austin, Tex., that drew an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit and scathing news coverage for putting young children behind razor wire.

“We’re trying to move away from ‘one size fits all,’ ” John Morton, who heads the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency as assistant secretary of homeland security, said in an interview on Wednesday. Detention on a large scale must continue, he said, “but it needs to be done thoughtfully and humanely.”

Hutto, a 512-bed center run for profit by the Corrections Corporation of America under a $2.8 million-a-month federal contract, was presented as a centerpiece of the Bush administration’s tough approach to immigration enforcement when it opened in 2006. The decision to stop sending families there — and to set aside plans for three new family detention centers — is the Obama administration’s clearest departure from its predecessor’s immigration enforcement to complete NYT article

The Associated Press/Washington Post
Thursday, August 6, 2009; 3:01 AM

WASHINGTON -- The Homeland Security Department intends to put federal employees in charge of monitoring the treatment of detainees in the country's largest immigration detention facilities, two years after the government turned that job over to a private company...

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