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Obama Changes Detention For Illegals

From an overjoyed New York Times:

U.S. to Reform Policy on Detention for Immigrants


August 6, 2009

The Obama administration intends to announce an ambitious plan on Thursday to overhaul the much-criticized way the nation detains immigration violators, trying to transform it from a patchwork of jail and prison cells to what its new chief called a “truly civil detention system.”

Details are sketchy, and even the first steps will take months or years to complete. They include reviewing the federal government’s contracts with more than 350 local jails and private prisons, with an eye toward consolidating many detainees in places more suitable for noncriminals facing deportation — some possibly in centers built and run by the government.

The plan aims to establish more centralized authority over the system, which holds about 400,000 immigration detainees over the course of a year, and more direct oversight of detention centers that have come under fire for mistreatment of detainees and substandard — sometimes fatal — medical care.

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 policies…

Vanita Gupta, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who led the lawsuit against the Hutto center, was jubilant over the decision to stop sending families there, but cautious about the other measures.

“The ending of family detention at Hutto is welcome news and long overdue,” she said in an e-mail message. “However, without independently enforceable standards, a reduction in beds, or basic due process before people are locked up, it is hard to see how the government’s proposed overhaul of the immigration detention system is anything other than a reorganization or renaming of what was in place before.”

Ms. Gupta said the changes at Hutto since 2006 illustrated the importance of enforceable rules. Before the A.C.L.U. lawsuit was settled in 2007, some children under 10 stayed as long as a year, mainly confined to family cells with open toilets, with only one hour of schooling a day. Children told of being threatened by guards with separation from their parents, many of them asylum-seekers from around the world

Of course Mr. Bush is being blamed for what was in truth an expensive attempt to be more humane:

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 policies…

Before the Hutto facility was built the ACLU (and SEIU) claimed that illegal aliens were separated from their families when they were arrested and detained. The whole purpose of Hutto was to give the government a facility where the children could remain living with their parents during their detention.

A detail you would never learn from the New York Times lengthy and meandering article.

As this article says, “Details [of the new Obama plan] are sketchy, and even the first steps will take months or years to complete.” And yet we think we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The federal government will simply stop detaining illegal aliens with families.

Two years ago we posted an article called, ACLU, SEIU Set US Immigration Policies.

We will re-post portions of that here:

From the Washington Post:

ACLU Settles Suit on Illegal-Immigrant Holding Facility

By Spencer S. Hsu
Tuesday, August 28, 2007; Page A03

The federal government yesterday announced the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against conditions at a government detention center for illegal immigrant children and families in Taylor, Tex.

The deal averted a trial set to open in U.S. District Court in Austin, and it was made after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began improving education, recreation, medical care and privacy standards at its first large holding facility for illegal immigrant families, the 512-bed T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, which opened in May 2006…

Under the ACLU detention agreement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to place families who have a legal basis to contest deportation — such as asylum claims — in Hutto only if no other space is available. Families facing expedited removal proceedings, where no hearing is required, may be detained but their cases must be reviewed every 30 days to see if they can be transferred or released.

The agency also agreed to allow children older than 12 to move freely about the facility, to provide a full-time pediatrician, to end a requirement that families stay in their cells 12 hours a day, and to offer field trips, toys, books and more nutritional food to children.

“The fact remains that our government should not be locking up innocent children — period. That is not what America is about,” said Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas…

Will someone explain to me where the ACLU, a taxpayer supported 501c3 ‘charity’ gets the authority to dictate our prison policies?

They are a Communist front organization that was founded with the sole purpose of undermining the country by attacking it through legalisms. Nobody elected them. They are responsible to no one.

And as if to demonstrate (albeit unwittingly) how upside down the world has become, the article also point out:

The Bush administration has continued to emphasize tougher enforcement efforts after this summer’s collapse of immigration legislation in Congress, but unions and other liberal activist groups are stepping up pressure on behalf of immigrants.

For instance, the Service Employees International Union plans today to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., against another federal immigration agency, charging that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services exceeded its authority by raising fees significantly July 30, including increasing charges for citizenship applicants from $400 to $675.

The increase “presents a huge barrier to thousands of immigrants” anxious to vote in the 2008 presidential primary and general elections, said Eliseo Medina, the union’s executive vice president. “This lawsuit is about accountability.”

Who are the Service Employees International Union and what are they doing suing a federal agency in charge of citizenship because they raised their fees? Who is the SEIU to claim that the agency “exceeded its authority”?

If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn’t have the authority to set their fees, than who does? The ACLU? The SEIU?

And of course they let the cat out of the bag:

The increase “presents a huge barrier to thousands of immigrants” anxious to vote in the 2008 presidential primary and general elections, said Eliseo Medina, the union’s executive vice president. “This lawsuit is about accountability.”

No, Mr. Medina. It has nothing to do with accountability.

It’s all about getting more votes for your DNC masters.

Meanwhile, here is some information you will never hear from our watchdog media about this facility, from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s website:

Fact Sheets

April 2007

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) opened the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility in Taylor, Texas, in May 2006 to accommodate alien families in ICE custody. This state-of-the-art facility was designed for families who have been placed in administrative immigration proceedings and is one of the major reasons the Department of Homeland Security has been able to successfully end the “catch and release” of illegal aliens at the southern border.

The facility provides an effective and humane alternative to maintain the unity of alien families as they await the outcome of their immigration hearings or the return to their home countries.


Before ICE opened the Hutto facility, alien families caught illegally crossing the border were often released with “Notices to Appear” before federal immigration judges.  However, they rarely appeared for these hearings.  This “catch and release” policy created a border vulnerability that alien smugglers sought to exploit by bringing children across the border along with groups of smuggled strangers, attempting to pass the groups off as family units.  By bringing the children, the smugglers hoped to avoid detention if captured.

In order to provide a detention facility in which families could remain together while awaiting their proceedings, ICE acquired the existing T. Don Hutto Correctional Center through an Inter-Governmental Service Agreement with Williamson County, Texas.  Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) operates the 512-bed facility under a contract with Williamson County.

Key Advantages of the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility

  • The facility provides an avenue for residents to maintain family unity while ICE enforces immigration laws.
  • Family members are housed together in a “residential, non-secure” setting where they can interact with one another and other families.
  • Designated areas within the facility serve as classrooms for children and adults.  In accordance with state education requirements, all resident children receive classroom instruction taught by state-certified teachers, including (ESL) classes.
  • As a family shelter facility, interior doors remain unlocked; the staff is specially trained to interact with residents to identify potential emerging problems.
  • The facility operates in accordance with applicable ICE detention standards to ensure that families are safe and that specially trained personnel address their needs.  All facility staff members receive more than 24 hours of specialized training in dealing with children.
  • The facility is staffed with a robust complement of ICE officers to ensure thorough monitoring of operations.
  • The three daily meals are approved by certified dieticians.

Other T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility Highlights

  • The U.S. Public Health Service operates the medical area, which includes a mental health staff.
  • The facility’s chaplain works with community volunteers to offer the residents the opportunity to worship and to strengthen family ties.
  • Adult classes are available in parenting, ESL, vocational classes, family counseling, art and crafts.
  • Residents are provided with t-shirts, sweat shirts and/or medical-style scrubs. (“Jail uniforms” are not worn).
  • Doors to individual family living areas provide ample privacy.  However, as appropriate for the unique mission of this facility, internal doors are not locked, facilitating maximum freedom of movement.
  • The general library contains more than 2,000 books, and the law library is available five days a week to residents.
  • The fully air-conditioned 75,000-square-foot facility accommodates 512 beds.
  • Natural light is available throughout the living areas and hallways. The facility includes three large shaded pavilions outdoors and spacious outdoor play areas.  In addition, a full-size gymnasium is available with recreational activities including basketball, volleyball, handball, baseball, soccer, and ping-pong.

What, no honey-glazed chicken?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 6th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Obama Changes Detention For Illegals”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    The one thing missing is Union Maid service and the SEIU Shoe Shine Boy!

    • Right of the People says:

      Regardless of their age, if a person enters the country illegally they are in fact a criminal. Although the kids in most cases have no say in the matter, they along with their parents are violating our laws.

      We are the only country who coddles these criminals. Go ahead and illegally cross over into any European country and get caught or even worse the majority of the third world and see how well you’re treated. Better yet, ask those two twits that Slick Willy just got released from the insane midget in North Korea how entering the Land of Eternal Smell worked out for them.

    • jobeth says:

      Right of the People…I am sorry to say that the UK is even worse about coddling the illegals. If you happen to be from Pakistan and come in uninvited you will still be given all the health care you can use, but you will also jump to the head of the line for housing. We are always reading stories of large families that get huge houses…on the taxpayers quid, knocking real Brits down the line for those counsel houses.

      Its pretty bad there. Our future if we aren’t careful.

      Now if I, as an American were to go over there and overstay…I would get the boot.

      Sort of like it is here between the Mexicans and my Brit inlaws…Who gets to overstay?

  2. Diamond Girl says:

    This is lovely..ACORN and ilk will know where to go to register voters all in one huge place.

    ACLU and such will ensure that on down the road.

    I just shake my head anymore what is happening to this country…some days I just can’t believe what I’m seeing happen at break-neck speed all around me…and I’ve been around awhile.

  3. Colonel1961 says:

    No turn-down service? Mini-bars? 24-hour concierge? Typical fascists…

  4. wirenut says:

    Sooo, the boxcars, tunnels and trucks that the coyotes use to bring these poor unfortunates into to this country illegally are better equipped? My God! What’s a poor taxpayer to do? I know , pony up more dollars for someone else’s cause. Can’t speak for you folks,but I’m down to pocket lint.

  5. jobeth says:

    Hey…with the utility bills about to skyrocket…I wonder…ummm…I wonder if I stay out in the sun long enough…and get a nice tan….I wonder if I could pass for a Mexican….Maybe I could get one of those nice AC’d apartments.

    I hear the food is great and I need a new wardrobe…and hey, I could use the art classes too.

  6. canary says:

    Our U.S. soldiers are separated from their families and living in worse conditions. Many away for 3 years. With the ongoing opinion in D.C. we need to send more an more troops to help in Afganistan, such as new schools that the terrorists use and blow up to ambush our soldiers, and now having to farm and grow food, to replace poppy fields, I think a new U.S. Immigration Military would be great. We can make it easier on them and let them get away with 1 year only.

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