Extended detentions? I thought the original idea was to get rid of illegal immigrants so they wouldn’t be such a drain on the American economy, right? Instead, we (the taxpayers) have built tent cities and immigration detention centers wherein we’re being charged $775 per night per detainee while in federal custody. So it seems okay to keep them here indefinitely while private contractors make a killing off of them?
I don’t buy the “due process” argument, as this administration has shown little-to-no regard for due process for processing detainees. There is no recorded documentation of the processing of immigrants, which became apparent once it was made public that ICE cannot account for almost 1500 missing children (that we know of), nor can it systemically reunite children with their families with their own internal accounting. That alone shows how the current administration is actually in violation of the very law it cites in its defense.
What doesn’t help the administration’s argument is that the President himself expressed his desire to abolish what little bureaucracy was left by this point. Which means any American citizen or legal resident can be detained indefinitely without due process or civic protections, in violation of established civil rights.
What also doesn’t help is the lack of consistency on policy and execution shown, even below the President. AG Sessions has said during interviews “Homeland Security can only keep these children for 72 hours before they go to Health and Human Services.” And yet, children have been kept at detention centers for weeks, if not months at a time. The 1500 missing children that we know of have been missing since 2012-2015 (possibly up to 6,000 that we don’t know of), to-date, which is far more than 72 hours.
Let’s skip past the partisan rhetoric on both sides of the immigration debacle/debate. Let’s ask the core question: how are the American people benefiting from the current immigration policy and practice? Are we doing what’s in the best interest of our country? Are we exercising due process in a way that respects human rights of human beings in our custody? These aren’t partisan agenda points, these are legit questions that define who we are as a society, and as a global leader of Democracy.
The answer will take time. We cannot go by knee-jerk reactions. The actual cost to the taxpayers won’t show up until the GAO gives the official breakdown. The impact on business and economy will take years to materialize. Some will argue that the economy is affected by other factors, which is very true, but in simplest terms, isn’t the main argument that immigration is ruining our economy? That SHOULD be a measurable indicator, and any improvement or detriment can also be measured. Otherwise, this is simply a red herring.
In the meantime, we need to pay attention. If we are enforcing due process under the updated policy, then we should be able to track detainees in our chain of custody. Which means we should be able to see hard numbers on just how long the “indefinite” detentions are lasting, and just how much it’s costing us, as well as how much the contractors are profiteering along the way.
In the United States of America, justice should be ubiquitous. Even illegal immigrants and refugees should find justice under the laws that apply to them, just as civil and criminal laws apply to us. If we cannot uphold our own laws that we created, then there is no justice in America. Only tyranny. We are only as good as our word.
Now that a judge has ordered a stop to separating families, the Justice Department says it can hold families caught illegally crossing the border until their immigration proceedings are resolved.