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>?< change in Immigration Detention on Tues.

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posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 03:22 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is expected on Tuesday to unveil an outline of sweeping changes for the nation's immigration-detention system, saying it will decide whom to lock up and for how long based on the danger and flight risk posed by detainees.

Officials familiar with the report said the administration is pledging to revise detention standards and will turn to the private sector for ideas, asking for proposals to construct two model facilities.

Until now, the Obama administration has been reluctant to revise detention standards, which were updated late in the administration of former President George W. Bush. The immigration detention system expanded dramatically during the Bush years as the government took a much tougher line against illegal immigrants.

The moves come in response to criticisms of the system over issues including the quality of medical treatment given to detainees and their inability to access basic services, such as phones to speak with lawyers. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said upon taking office that she would undertake a review of the process.

Ms. Napolitano is expected to announce the moves at a news conference. The officials familiar with Tuesday's announcement said Ms. Napolitano, who has oversight of the immigration detention network through the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, will also announce plans to develop a new classification system for detainees.

Currently, asylum seekers or other detainees who don't pose a danger can be housed with regular criminals in the U.S. prison system. The goal of the new classification system, officials said, is to avoid mixing criminal and noncriminal detainees.

The Obama administration also will pledge to put in place a screening system to alert officials to special medical or mental-health needs of detainees as they enter detention.

Tuesday's report includes a promise to issue guidelines on alternatives to detaining immigration violators.

The announcement is expected to be criticized as a softening of immigration policy by some Republicans and others who have taken a hard line on illegal immigration. It follows a promise from Obama administration officials in August to alter the detention network.

Officials on Tuesday are expected to announce that they will further centralize and increase oversight of the network, which houses about 32,000 beds at 350 local jails, prisons or private corrections facilities nationwide. Almost 400,000 people cycle through the system each year.

In August, John Morton, the assistant secretary for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, said he would put a government manager inside each of the nation's largest 23 detention facilities to increase and enhance direct federal oversight. The agency is expected to announce that it is doubling the effort, meaning government managers, instead of contractors, will oversee facilities housing 80% of the nation's immigration detainees.

Mr. Morton said in August that the main goal of his overhaul was to make the system less reliant on using prison-like facilities to hold the hundreds of thousands of immigration detainees who pass through the system each year who aren't criminal offenders.

Write to Cam Simpson at

posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 03:52 PM
I'm willing to bet this is in response to his SPP meeting. According the press conference in August '09 Obama had with Pres Calderon & PM Harper.

Obama answered a question from a reporter about how since he's fighting so hard for health care reform, etc., etc., how "hard, if not impossible," would it be for him to get immigration reform passed....

"With respect to immigration reform, I continue to believe that is also in the long-term interests of the United States...And if we continue on a path we're on, we will continue to have tensions with our Mexican neighbors; we will continue to have people crossing the borders in a way that is dangerous for them...

"There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable...

"But ultimately, I think the American people want fairness. And we can create a system in which you have strong border security, we have an orderly process for people to come in, but we're also giving an opportunity for those who are already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so that they don't have to live in the shadows, and their children and their grandchildren can have a full participation in the United States. So I'm confident we can get it done."

Mexican Pres Calderon immediately thereafter said:

"Now, in regard to migration, actually many of the people who work in the United States, who live in the shadow, live in the state or come from Jalisco, the state. These are people who have migrated in order to build a better future for their families. All of them, or most of them, have enormously contributed to the American society and the American economy, and it is unthinkable to see that the U.S., the main power, the main economic power in the world, without the contribution of the Mexican laborers and workers. This is not only a goodwill statement...

"The only way to have sustained progress throughout the North American region, especially, is allowing for the natural economic processes, for integration can happen, and this implies a labor mobility that cannot be determined by mandate or by decree.

"This is what we have underscored with President Obama during this meeting, to keep on invoking the protection for the Mexican laborers, whatever their migration conditions are in the United States. And our highest commendment to the way President Obama has tackled this migration issue now."

So this isn't being initiated by the US government, but by the North American Union if you ask me.

(Uh-oh, I think I just got put on the WH "Watch List"

[edit on 10/6/2009 by willow1d]

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