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Obama administration announces changes in immigration detention system

The Obama administration announced plans today to change how immigration violators are detained in the U.S. by shifting from a system that relies on a network of jails and private prisons to one that is designed specifically for civil detention. 

As part of the plan, which will take years to implement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will review its roughly 350 existing operating contracts and will increase oversight throughout the system.

“We need a system that is open, transparent and accountable,” said John Morton, assistant secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The number of detainees is expected to stay about the same – at 32,000 -- but many could be housed in new facilities specifically designed for immigration detention.

“This isn’t about whether or not we are going to detain people,” Morton said. “We are going to continue to detain people on a large scale. This is about how we detain those people.”

Advocates, who have long criticized the immigration detention system, said today they were encouraged but that they would be watching the changes closely.

“Only time will tell if the reforms announced today amount to lasting change or simply creative repackaging of prior policies,” said Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center.

Tumlin said the plan lacks one essential element: teeth. She said the real solution is making the detention standards into law so that they are enforceable.

-- Anna Gorman

Comments () | Archives (22)

Here we go again. What does "civil detention" mean? Or, more important, what is the Dem's definition of this? Is this going to be "home detention"? A lawyer's paradise? Just more of our money going down the drain.

What? What happened to "you break the law, you go to jail". Not special jail or civilian jail or some other kind of jail they haven't invented a name for yet.
Gee, wonder why we have no money. Wake up!

this does not sound good. we need a system that send these illegals home or to jail. get them back to their home country before they commit any more crimes in the US. These illegals need to be processed, finger printed, photographed, and identified. then when they come back we can put them in jail for however long it takes to keep them out permanently!

LOL, at this rate it may be time to renounce my citizenship, illegal immigrants may want to think twice about becoming citizens, they got it much better right where they are lol.

Free ride, free healthcare, free food, low cost housing, commit crime, create a nightmare for Americans by taking their ID.

Citizens get the benefit of paying for it, in tax dollars, staying away from their families longer fighting traffic, and be voiceless victims.

The government is not mandating victims of ID theft be exonerated from the years of anguish creditors put you through, which can be done by simply informing the credit industry that the victims social has been used by someone other then themselves, shucks our government wont even mandate businesses use e-verify that will open up the job market to millions of citizens. the government is not mandating that medical facilities that serve you, not to attach their credit worthiness with negative marks if they can not pay the fees.

The government is not enforcing street peddling laws on those individuals they know are not licensed to sell roses, oranges, food, household good, electronics, clothing, etc.

But you bet not be white, or black or you would find yourself in court trying to defend yourself against the citation.

I will trade my position with an illegal immigrant in a heart beat the way the structure is today.

Yet one more system that Bush bungled the management of and left in a mess for the next guy to deal with. It is very sad how immigrants and citizens alike have had their lives decimated by the uncaring attitudes and actions of the Bush-Cheney admin.Obama is working hard to 'right the ship'before it sinks and everything goes down with it. It is incredible how Bush got away with so much; it's criminal, really!

This is good news, as civil detention would be consistent with what immigration violations (usually) are: civil violations. Thomas 46, you wouldn't expect to be thrown in jail for a civil violation, would you?

Whachdog and the others who want to incarcerate innocent people are the ones who should be put in a locked institution. People who have this type of mentally are psychologically ill. These are the ones we should be protected from. Immigrants break the law for the only reason of trying to find a better quality of life for them and their families. If republicans and insensitive people, like the ones posting here, can't understand this, then it is so obvious something is wrong with their minds.

Thomas46. I think your upset because you are just upset at immigration or this is just a democratic idea.

This is a good idea. People break the laws all the time but are not jailed. Think about what you are saying.

Illegals broke the law and should be jailed. They are also currently detained in jail. Don't get the two intermixed.

You crazy conservative and liberal fanatics need to let your guard down. Realize when something is a good idea and embrace it. Not tear the idea down because the other side is trying to implement it.

what have we become. Governed by a group of conservative and liberal fanatics.

Don't detain them. Deport them!

why are we housing 32,000 detainees anyway? the minute you're sure they're not going to immediately find a way back in and blow us all to high heaven, DEPORT them!

I don't understand why we give illegals rights away. Now to give them a separate prison system is just more tax payers money being taken away from American citizens for illegals who don't belong here in the first place.

Deport all the illegals to California, that is the best jail for them, they already ruined it to the ground!

Some of you people equating undocumented aliens to criminals are truly frightening. The term "criminal" is reserved for people who have broken a criminal law.

Illegal immigration is a Civil matter, which means it's ruled by Civil Law not Criminal Law. Immigration cases are heard in front of an administrative law judge for the BCIS not a criminal judge.

So, yes, an illegal alien has broken a law, but a civil one, not a criminal law therefore is not a criminal per se.

Please be human and have some compassion for these people that come from really bad situations. A way out of poverty is the only reason they come here, not to commit crimes, generally speaking.

Use this money to buy buses, ship illegals right to the border.

I keep hearing the words "open, transparent, accountable" but I have yet to see any actual change. It's the new buzz phrase. And of course, the stupid believe it.

Didn't you people hear mayor V. Pres. O, congress and the senate. There is no such thing as illegal immigration, even though there are laws on the books saying there is. they are people from other countries who's government deny their own citizens a better quality of life, who are now going to America trying to make a better life for their families on the backs of Americans who are trying to make a better quality of life for theirs.

Stop whining, you vote them in, and they sell you out.... damn people dont even take time out to read the policies they vote on one way or the other. Shows how much they think of you, to vote something up or down without having an personal idea how their choice will effect you.

America has a problem, being the leader of progression means more to them, than making sure the American dream is available to every American first, and then to those that seek her citizenship and departure of loyalty to their native land.

yeah? how bout they sign an amnesty and allow those illegals with with no criminal records, understand the language, and have paid taxes at some point stay in the country. then we deal with securing our borders and booting everyone else that does not qualify. and for the retard who says he wants to become an illegal, go ahead, you would not be able to live one day in the shoes of an illegal immigrant, all of you dont know what they go through.

JB-I speak for majority of Americans when I say; YOURE NUTS!"
Immigrants that enter the country illegally are-wait for it-CRIMINALS.
Who cares about their families? No one.
We are a country of laws
No coutnry IN THE WORLD allows cirminals to enter their countries like we do.
The American people have spoken time and time again on this issue. We want them out! DEPORT Immediately!
We spend a billion dollars-let me say that again-a BILLION dollars every year in CA of taxpayer money

Let me tell you one thing in the USA illigal immigrant only working not American because they r laZy they need easy money .and 30% legal American they only sale the drug in the clubs and hotel Obama he is right may be he also know here all people are lazy that's why he making all illigal immigrants legal that's good i thing this good

it's gotta be way more than a billion. it's probably just a billion to house them in our jails alone. that doesn't count any of the other costs (I thought I'd previously heard it was around $5B at last check). so we can pay $5 less to have our car washed? no thanks.

those who never commit a violeation or pass a stop with out making the total stop, please trow the first stone.

The usa I was a detainee u all doing some crazy:?


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