New Rules Make Illegals’ Detention a ‘Holiday’
The Obama administration’s new standards for treating illegal aliens make their detention centers resemble recreational facilities rather than prisons, Republicans complain.
“Under this administration, detention looks more like recess,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said on Wednesday.
Smith spoke at a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Policy Enforcement called “Holiday on ICE” — mockingly using the acronym of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
He said the administration’s new manual for detaining illegals “reads more like a hospitality guideline for illegal immigrants.”
“While funds for American students’ physical education classes are being cut, the new detention standards expand recreation for illegal immigrants.
“For instance, illegal and criminal immigrants in ICE custody will have options such as soccer, volleyball and basketball. It would be nice if all American students got those options.”
Early in March, ICE opened the new $30 million Karnes County Civil Detention Center near San Antonio, Texas, the first facility built to comply with the new standards, CNS News reported.
The Center features a library with free Internet access, cable TV, an indoor gym, soccer fields, and a beach volleyball court.
“Instead of guards, unarmed ‘resident advisers’ patrol the grounds,” Smith said.
Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council 118 of the American Federation of Government Employees, has a big problem with that, he said in a statement prepared for the Wednesday hearing.
The union leader charged the administration with “creating a more dangerous detention system, resulting in injury to ICE detainees, ICE officers, and contract employees.”
He warned that ICE’s new policy of arresting the “worst of the worst” illegal aliens has brought “more violent, aggressive and overall dangerous” detainees into ICE facilities.
The new standards impose “new prohibitions on strip searches,” Crane added.
He also accused Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton of excluding ICE officers from discussions leading to the creation of the new standards. Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., who chairs the subcommittee, said the standards “unreasonably” put “the interests of removable aliens ahead of the interest of the nation and the American taxpayer.”