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Why Won’t DHS Create Real Immigration Detention Standards?

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 07/30/2009 at 6:21pm

What’s that line about things getting worse before they get better? We can only hope (oh, wait, someone already owns that one…) or should I say, make the case loudly, that this be the case over at DHS.

Nina Bernstein of the New York Times reports this week that the Department of Homeland Security, led by Janet Napolitano, has declined to make the growing detention industry in the United States legally accountable. The final decision came in on Tuesday, in time to meet a court-ordered deadline:

The Obama administration has refused to make legally enforceable rules for immigration detention, rejecting a federal court petition by former detainees and their advocates and embracing a Bush-era inspection system that relies in part on private contractors.

The decision, contained in a six-page letter received by the plaintiffs this week, disappointed and angered immigration advocacy organizations around the country. They pointed to a stream of newly available documents that underscore the government’s failure to enforce minimum standards it set in 2000, including those concerning detainees’ access to basic health care, telephones and lawyers, even as the number of people detained has soared to more than 400,000 a year.

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