Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced sweeping changes in the way that illegal immigrants are detained. The system houses an average of 32,000 detainees throughout the United States every day. The current system has been criticized for being cruel and inhumane. Currently, detainees are held in prison like facilities which are costly. The department announced that they will be coming up with new ways to detain nonviolent immigrants. Two new facilities will be built that will probably house the more violent immigrants. A facility in Texas will be converted to only hold women. The department plans on developing a system to electronically monitor immigrants and house them in converted hotels. The 350 contracts to state, county and municipal prisons will be reviewed and controlled by a centralized office. There's also plans to set up an online system to allow families to check on the status of their loved ones. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a $2.5 billion budget to deal with the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants. Current detention procedures cost up to $100 per day per inmate. Some of the alternatives announced by the department may cost as little as $14 a day. The goal is to place inmates in appropriate places until they are deported. For instance, a nonviolent immigrant should not be treated the same way as a violent immigrant.
In researching to post this blog, I was surprised by the different headlines from different newspapers. For instance, the Christian Science Monitor headline read, "Some Illegal Immigrants to be Held in Old Hotels, Nursing Homes." The Houston Chronicle headline read, "More Detained Immigrants May Be Released." One New York Times article read, "Salvaging Immigration Detention." All of these articles were about the same story. Illegal immigration is a volatile and emotional issue. It's interesting how the views of a particular author or newspaper editor come out in the headlines. One article suggests we are salvaging immigration detention and the other starts off by saying that more illegal immigrants may be released.
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