Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced significant changes to the detention policies that have been in place since 2006. According to the New York Times, “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.”
Below is a statement from Paco Fabián, communications director at America’s Voice:
“We are glad that DHS is listening and responding to critics and taking steps in the right direction to address the open wound that is our broken immigration detention system. Families and children have been caused undue harm, and the department has recognized that. The fact that families will no longer be sent to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center near Austin, Texas is encouraging. However, the fact that DHS is unwilling to be accountable to legally enforceable rules gives us pause.
“Secretary Napolitano has been moving in the right direction on workplace raids and now on detention standards, but she is continuing to expand the flawed 287(g) local enforcement program and has yet to investigate carefully documented abuses by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents during residential raids conducted in the past.
“We hope and expect that Secretary Napolitano will take the lead in correcting the wrongs from the Bush Administration, including the failed detention system and home raids, and in addition will focus on comprehensive immigration reform. The announcement today shows the need for creating a more rational policy on detention, and the need for DHS and Congress to work on a workable solution to our immigration policy that is good for our country, our security and reflects our American values.”