Immigration Detention: Getting Worse, Not Better

Melissa del Bosque
in the Texas Observer:

A cause you can believe in.Back in 2009, the Obama administration
reform of the massive, mostly for-profit U.S.
immigrant detention system. Immigrant advocates are still

The number of deportees hasn’t diminished and private detention
facilities continue to expand. Every year more than 400,000 people
waiting for hearings with an immigration judge are housed in
far-flung jails and grim detention centers across the

Last year, the nonprofit watchdog group Detention Watch Network
issued a report on
10 of the most inhumane lockups in the nation, saying they should
be closed immediately because of myriad human rights abuses. The
group sent a
and a copy of the report to President Obama outlining
their concerns and calling for the closures….The 10 facilities
were identified as the worst in the nation by a coalition of more
than 320 immigrant advocate groups, community organizers, legal
service providers and faith organizations. Bob Libal, executive
director of the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership,
toured both detention facilities in 2012 and found detainees in
crowded unsanitary cells without adequate medical care or edible
food. Some detainees had been placed in solitary confinement for
minor infractions.

A year has now passed and not one of the facilities has been
closed. “The conditions haven’t improved at all,” Libal said.
“They’ve actually gotten worse.”

In the grand scheme of things, this is a small demand: not a
reduction in deportations, just better treatment on the way out.
(Read The New York Times
of that original Obama promise, and you’ll see
officials spouting¬†love-me-I’m-a-liberal
lines: “Detention on a large scale must continue, he said, ‘but it
needs to be done thoughtfully and humanely.'”) It’s telling that
the administration hasn’t even managed that much.

Grits for Breakfast

from Hit & Run

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