• Your cart is currently empty.
Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Humanitarian legislation to keep federally detained undocumented immigrants safe before Senate.

Humanitarian legislation to keep federally detained undocumented immigrants safe before Senate.

LatinaLista — In a report released this week, and cited in an earlier Latina Lista post, the researchers noted that family reunification was driving illegal immigration, along with, search for work.

Douglas Ramirez of Guatemala is shown being escorted into family court in Edinburg, Texas, Monday, Dec. 4, 2006. The boy and his two older sisters, ages 10 and 13, were picked up by border agents last week along a highway just north of the Rio Grande where they were abandoned by the smuggler who had brought them across the Mexican border to reunite them with their father in the U.S. for the holidays. Immigration officials in Texas say the annual holiday surge in children crossing the border illegally is on. (Source: AP Photo/KRGV TV)
What wasn’t highlighted at the time is how this family reunification is changing the profile of undocumented immigrants.
According to Prof. Wayne Cornelius, lead researcher on the report, when asked what the new profile of the undocumented immigrant is, he said, “Very diverse, with some ‘lone males’ of working age but many more whole families, women, and children.”
Professor Cornelius and his team credit the border enforcement for accelerating the “bottling” up of undocumented immigrants on this side of the border and the reason why women and children are deciding to come over.
This revelation brings to light how in the coming months when ICE gets even more aggressive in its tactics to root out the undocumented, women and children will also be increasingly caught up in the net of apprehensions.
If they are not from Mexico, they will find themselves “detained” in one of several detention facilities under the responsibility of the federal government’s Homeland Security department.
That’s why a bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate yesterday, titled The Secure and Safe Detention and Asylum Act (S. 3114) is so imperative that it be passed.
Some of the major media news organizations have already done reports on the deaths, suicides and medical neglect at these facilities and their impact on immigrant detainees. As they fill up more with women and children in the coming months, this piece of legislation is needed to ensure that these detention centers don’t become a sanitary version of a gulag.

The Secure and Safe Detention and Asylum Act:
Mandates improved detention conditions, prompt medical care, unobstructed access to legal counsel, limits on the use of solitary confinement, and special standards for families and for victims of persecution and torture.
Allows immigration judges to review the detention of asylum seekers and others consider releasing those who pose no risk to public safety.
Enhances alternatives to detention such as supervised release programs.
Requires the recording of interviews with detained asylum seekers and other quality assurance measures to ensure these individuals are not erroneously returned to countries where they fear persecution.
Establishes an Office of Detention Oversight within the Department of Homeland Security to audit and investigate detention facilities’ compliance with standards and to report to Congress.
Mandates the reporting and investigation of all deaths that occur in detention facilities

.
All these measures should be common sense policies. That this legislation has to be drafted means that the federal government is not complying with universal basic human rights and sees the detention of these individuals as the completion to an overzealous enforcement strategy.
But it doesn’t.
Responsibility for the welfare of these individuals doesn’t end until each of their cases is resolved.
If the Department of Homeland Security realized this, then maybe they wouldn’t be so eager to terrorize these communities.
In the end, it’s the detention and care of all these individuals that is costing a hefty price tag for the American public — one that far outweighs someone working without proper documentation but who is recycling their wages in the local economy.

Related posts

Comment(8)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    It costs a lot to incarcerate an American citizen for a crime also but it is a necessary evil. Chaos and unlawfullnes would replace justice and respect for our laws if there was no penalty for violating them.
    So we should release “no serous threat” illegals so that they can continue to take a job from an American and continue to work in violation of our laws by working under false or stolen I.D.’s? Surely you jest.
    It isn’t a matter of which is the cheapest way to go. It is a matter of principle and our laws.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 13, 2008 at 12:30 am

    U.S. Immigration Policy and The “Rule of Law”
    by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
    Politicians, pundits and activists have touted “the rule of law” as the solution to our nation’s broken immigration system, mistakenly conflating this term with “law and order.” In fact, the “rule of law” offers a positive framework for reform, but only in the full meaning of this concept. At its most basic, the “rule of law” speaks to the need for government to be accountable to the law. “Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own,” Plato wrote, “the collapse of the state . . . is not far off; but if the law is master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise.”
    The “rule of law” requires a certain level of “law and order,” but enforcement of the law does not guarantee a legal system that satisfies this concept. After all, despots excel at ruling by law. As Brian Tamanaha has written, a consensus has emerged in liberal democracies that the “rule of law” speaks to the form that laws take, their purpose (service to human rights and the common good), and the legitimacy of the underlying political system. How might this standard guide reform of the U.S. immigration system?
    Measuring the U.S. Immigration System
    The indices used by non-governmental organizations to measure compliance with the “rule of law” in other nations typically stipulate that laws must be written, prospective, coherent, procedurally fair, and applied even-handedly. Persons with even the most passing experience with the U.S. immigration system know that it does not satisfy these mostly “formal” standards. Repeated studies have demonstrated, for example, gross disparities in deportation outcomes based on legal representation, detention, and the assigned judge. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that one-sixth of the migrants at U.S. ports-of-entry who express a fear of returning home are nonetheless turned away in violation of U.S. and international law.
    The American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration has argued that the spiraling population of persons without legal status in the United States — whom it characterized as “second-class non-citizens . . . without rights, status, security or stability” — in itself raised rule of law concerns. The Commission reported that persons without status “live largely outside the law’s protections,” facing “crime, exploitation and abuse.” State and local legislation that attempts to force the undocumented to self-deport by denying them housing, work, and minimal government services puts them further outside the law’s protections.
    The ABA Commission also concluded that U.S. immigration laws “contribute significantly” to “illegality” because they conflict with the right to family unity. The conflict occurs in three areas. First, unforgiving U.S. deportation laws have led to the permanent banishment of thousands of lawful permanent residents, many for relatively minor crimes that they committed years in the past. Second, U.S. law conditions family unity on income by requiring U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who wish to sponsor a qualifying relative for a visa to demonstrate the “means to maintain” that person at 125 percent of the poverty guidelines. Third, multi-year backlogs force immigrants who have been approved for family-based visas to decide whether to obey the law and live abroad while they await their visas, or to live with their families in the United States without status. Literally millions opt for the latter course. These and other measures have been exacerbated by growing restrictions on judicial review, a linchpin of the “rule of law.”
    The “rule of law” also argues for coherence between the operation of different legal regimes. Yet there is dissonance between U.S. immigration policy and the nation’s relatively open job market that depends on more than 7 million workers without legal status. According to Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke, the U.S. economy will need 3.5 million additional laborers annually into the foreseeable future to replace the 78 million baby-boomers who begin to retire in 2008. Besides immigrants, the only other source of “replacement” workers will be elderly persons who chose to work beyond their projected retirement dates.
    The Administration and Congress have stepped up pressure on states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws. Many police forces have resisted at risk to needed federal funding, fearing that this new responsibility will distract them from their core law-enforcement duties and will prevent immigrants from reporting crimes and cooperating in community policing. This result offends the rule of law even in the narrow, “law and order” sense of this term.
    More than three million U.S. citizen children have at least one parent without legal status. Denying them citizenship will effectively make many of these children stateless. The 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to those born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction. Yet 96 Members of Congress co-sponsored legislation last year that sought to deny birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented persons without amending the Constitution. The creation of a “permanently illegal” class of children through arguably illegal means represents an egregious challenge to the rule of law.
    Honoring the “Rule of Law”
    The “rule of law” has been evoked to oppose policies that would increase “legality” and to support policies that would increase “illegality.” Many restrictionists favor reducing legal admissions, denying citizenship to U.S.-born children, criminalizing being or assisting an undocumented person, and denying certain immigrants the means to subsist. Last year, they cited the “rule of law” to justify their opposition to the “DREAM Act,” which would have legalized undocumented persons raised in the United States, and to oppose “amnesty” for the spouses of fallen U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
    Pro-immigrant groups do not favor illegal immigration or support open borders. My own agency has documented the chaos and security risks that characterize the current immigration system. At the same time, we do not think that enforcement can be effective without broader reform of the U.S. immigration system. While Border Patrol funding increased from $206 million in 1988 to $1.8 billion in 2006, the U.S. undocumented population grew roughly five-fold. Deportation-only or prosecution-then-deportation, or deportation-by-attrition strategies will be prohibitively expensive and a civil rights debacle.
    A purely “law and order” approach also fails to address why people migrate, an essential consideration in crafting a successful immigration policy. Most come to work as part of a family survival strategy. Better to die trying to cross, migrants say, than to die slowly at home. Millions have been displaced by the process of globalization. In the 12 years following passage of the North American Free Trade agreement, two million persons lost their jobs in Mexico’s agricultural sector. During these same years, many small family farmers joined the U.S. “illegal” migrant labor force.
    U.S. immigration laws remain generous in many ways. They deserve to be obeyed and enforced. Yet the law cannot ultimately prevail against human desperation and need. The “rule of law” holds the promise of creating a more humane immigration system that could be better enforced. Honoring this venerable concept would serve our nation’s interests and ideals.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    June 13, 2008 at 7:02 am

    “In the end, it’s the detention and care of all these individuals that is costing a hefty price tag for the American public — one that far outweighs someone working without proper documentation but who is recycling their wages in the local economy.”
    $23 billion is transferred to Mexico every hear by illegal aliens which is not recycled into the local eonomy. Additional billions of taxes go uncollected as taxes due to illegl aliens getting paid under the table. That’s billions that could pay for schools, health care and everything else that makes the governmental infrastructure tick.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    June 13, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    “The American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration has argued that the spiraling population of persons without legal status in the United States — whom it characterized as “second-class non-citizens . . . without rights, status, security or stability” — in itself raised rule of law concerns. The Commission reported that persons without status “live largely outside the law’s protections,” facing “crime, exploitation and abuse.” State and local legislation that attempts to force the undocumented to self-deport by denying them housing, work, and minimal government services puts them further outside the law’s protections.”
    Gee, this describes to the “T” what at-large wanted criminals and their families suffer, but no one is clammering for them to be given amnesty. Why should those who violate our laws be given the luxury of comfort? One of the great deterrants of violating the law is the discomfort that violators feel in being subject to arrest. Mistreatment is a risk common to all those who violate the law, be they citizen violators or illegl aliens. As one judge said (paraphrasingly), all that illegal aliens have to do to regain their rights and privileges as citizens is to obey our immigration laws by returning to their homelands. I don’t think that many Americans will agree that illegal aliens should be permitted to extort citizenship by claiming, idiotically, that it must be done so that they may not be mistreated. If that were the case, anyone should be able to enter the country and force the us to grant them amnesty. This is another stupid concept similar to the case of the robber entering the bank, pointing the gun to his head and demanding a million dollars or he’ll shoot himself. Anyway, once we’ve forced them all back to their homelands, there will no need to worry about their mistreatment, problem solved. Who knows, maybe those who extorted citizenship from our country during the last amnesty will decide to go back too. That will solve the separation of familes problem. The ABA position is just another example of the low quality of lawyers in the country today.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 15, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Thank You For showing your true racist colors, by suggesting that legal immigrants and American citizens should leave America.
    I cant wait for the day when you will be shoved back into obscurity. I know it’s comming fast.

  • Avatar
    Thomas
    June 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    They are not Americans. That law was meant for the children of freed slaves who were brought here by force. Not for the tresspassers. besides playing the race card is overplayed. You have no argument. Your in the wrong accept it.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 16, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Thomas you are unpatriotic in your refusal to accept and uphold our constution.
    You are also a racist who wants to change our constution to fit your racist agenda.
    You may be a U.S. citizen by birth, but you are definitely not a true American. You are a European American.
    Learn History, all Hispanics except people from Spain are true Americans. Indigenous Americans.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 16, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Anyone born in this country is an American according to our Constitution which some like to flaunt in here but deny it’s meaning when it is convenient for them. That means that Mestizos (native indian and Spaniard) who are born in this country are also Americans.
    Seeking change to the 14th Amendment clause about birthright citizenship born from parents of illegal aliens though is not unpatriotic and is a whole different ball of wax than a child of ANY race being born from parents who are citizens of this country.

Comments are closed.

8 Comments