Bill Conroy reports from the new detention facilities at Lackland military base in San Antonio… After this article was posted today, the major news wires report on a new policy statement from the Obama administration. I don’t think I am being pessimistic to say that the administration’s response is as bad as it gets… (article posted below)
More detention facilities for children and families…
how can anyone see this as other than cruel and unusual punishment? The vast majority of these people are refugees fleeing life-threatening conditions…they are guilty of no crime other than entering the US without documents…Many of these prisons are operated by private companies which profit by detaining more people for longer periods of time…all paid for by US taxpayers…
More immigration judges, asylum officers and government attorneys…this means that more asylum cases will be denied and people will be funneled more quickly through the courts and deported. Recently (at least in El Paso) it seems that the government has been offering to ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSE cases, rather than go through the full hearing process. I know of several cases where the asylum hearing is completed and the government still offers to close the case. The judge does not rule. The government allows the asylum seekers to stay in the country for an indefinite period. The government reserves the right to reopen the case at any time, thus leaving the asylum seekers in a vulnerable position–subject to renewed deportation proceedings in the future. But, considering that in many jurisdictions (certainly here in El Paso) more than 90 percent of asylum cases are denied, the administrative closures are a better outcome for many people who have fled Mexico and other countries and fear death or persecution if returned.
Increased security measures and $161 million from the US (taxpayer money) to “fight crime” in Central America…As noted by many of us who have watched the results of such aid in Mexico recently, it is clear that the money, weapons and other military equipment, training and funding result in increasing levels of violence. As noted by Conroy, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are already some of the most violent places on the planet:
Some critics of current U.S. immigration policy argue that it is the militarized nature of the nation’s war on drugs that is actually at the heart of the current refugee crisis along the US/Mexican border.
“U.S. security policy in Mexico and Central America, focused on militarized counter-narcotics efforts known as the war on drugs, has had severely negative effects on the region,” states a recent report by the Mexico City-based Americas Program of the Center for International Policy. “… The report finds that current drug-war policy has dramatically increased the transfer of arms, equipment and military/police training to the region. Concurrently, we find that violence in the region has exploded.”