OCTOBER 06, 2009
In an effort to avoid incarcerating illegal immigrants and assure their humane treatment, the Department Homeland Security is creating an innovative system that detains those awaiting deportation based on flight risk and danger.
Illegal aliens determined to pose no true threat to the U.S. will be housed by the government in facilities like hotels and nursing homes rather than jails, according to a news report outlining the Obama Administration’s immigration detention overhaul. Other private facilities are also being considered and Homeland Security officials are asking the private sector for more ideas.
Nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants are currently incarcerated in local, state and federal prisons throughout the nation at a cost of about $2 billion. But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, with a documented history of opposing immigration enforcement, vowed months ago to devise a plan that offers alternatives to traditional detention of a population she claims poses no threat to the country.
This week the former Arizona governor announced that she has kept her promise to immigration advocates who have long complained about the inhumane conditions in jails across the nation. Among the problems, they say, is the poor quality of medical treatment and illegal aliens’ inability to access basic services, such as telephones and attorneys.
That will all improve by next fall, Napolitano says, because her agency will have a new system that ranks illegal aliens by flight risk and public danger. Immigrants will be detained based on those assessments, with a large number expected to be housed in less restrictive residential facilities, despite the obvious national security risks created by granting such violators virtual freedom.
The official who heads Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Homeland Security agency in charge of incarcerating illegal immigrants, says this will meet his goal of transforming the current operation into a “truly civil detention system” focused on safely and humanely holding people.
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