Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Broken Immigration System?

Most people agree that it is not a good thing to detain/jail someone if they have not committed a crime. However, the American immigration system does just that. It detains, sometimes in maximum security prisons, asylum-seekers who are fleeing persecution from their home country. Granted, the immigration system has been reformed to make that more of the exception, rather than the rule, but there are still many asylum seekers who have never committed a crime, yet they are being detained in U.S. prisons waiting for their asylum hearing. What's worse, even though EOIR and I.C.E. have expedited the system so that those in detention are processed more quickly, they still have long waits -- especially if their case is appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
What's the answer?  Obviously-- we have to be aware of potential security threats to those whose identity remains unverified, but is this the best that we've got?

1 comment:

Anne said...

I've been reading a great deal about Alternatives to Detention after seeing them mentioned in one of the readings for class. There's a great document from UNHCR (http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/refworld/rwmain?docid=4472e8b84&page=search) that describes how many of these might prove to be plausibly implemented and even cost effective. Of course, this document was issued in 2006, and it doesn't quite seem like the U.S. has made a lot of progress...

One of the most striking things I read in the article you posted was that there was a proposed rule that would exempt immigration facilities from the Prison Rape Elimination Act...what? These are human beings we're dealing with here; they deserve to be protected from sexual abuse just as much as any other- detained or not. This system certainly isn't the best we've got.