Friday, August 7, 2009

Immigration Overhaul Includes End to Jailing Families at Hutto

"Immigration Overhaul Includes End to Jailing Families at Hutto

The Obama administration is preparing to announce an overhaul of immigration-related jailings. The changes include an end to the imprisonment of families at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Texas and a freeze on plans for three additional family detention jails. Federal monitors will be appointed to the nations twenty-three largest immigration jails, including those run by private companies. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Vanita Gupta welcomed the news on the Hutto jail, calling it long overdue. But she said, Without independently enforceable standards, a reduction in beds, or basic due process before people are locked up, it is hard to see how the governments proposed overhaulis anything other than a reorganization or renaming of what was in place before."

In my experience the quality and professionalism that you may find in immigration detention facilities throughout the United States varies greatly. I have the most experience dealing with the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia, N.Y., and since it opened I have not heard a single complaint from any of my clients who are being housed there with regards to the quality of the facility.

That being said, the detention facility in Batavia may be the exception, and not the rule. It is good news that this issue is finally being addressed, and we can only hope that systemic changes are implemented for the better.

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