IN­ZUNZA

Starkville Daily News - - FO­RUM -

rolled in the de­por­ta­tion process who were re­leased from de­ten­tion show up for their hear­ings 99 per­cent of the time and com­ply with or­ders of re­moval 84 per­cent of the time. Un­der the Pres­i­dent's new pol­icy 100% of folks, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren, in de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings must be de­tained. If it comes to pass, this is go­ing to be an amaz­ingly cruel and ex­pen­sive fail­ure. Here are other prob­lems with the Pres­i­dent's new pol­icy:

al­lowed to per­form the jobs they trained for. They, like most Amer­i­cans, want to pri­or­i­tize en­force­ment against re­peat im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tors and those with crim­i­nal records who pose a threat to so­ci­ety, rather than be­ing forced to tar­get im­mi­grants with no crim­i­nal records, who pose no dan­ger to the com­mu­nity, pub­lic safety or border se­cu­rity. But, the Pres­i­dent's man­date strips them of their use of dis­cre­tion and causes them to squan­der re­sources on de­ten­tion and de­por­ta­tion of those who pose a threat to no one.

a sim­ple cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis. Es­ti­mates from the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity in­di­cate that it costs tax­pay­ers $170 per day, per in­di­vid­ual, de­tained in a con­tract de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity. This means that it presently costs US tax­pay­ers more than $5,000,000 daily to de­tain non-crim­i­nal in­di­vid­u­als. Be­fore can­cel­la­tion of the pro­gram, this num­ber was set to rise to more than $8,000,000 daily. I am cer­tain it will come as no sur­prise that most of the tax­payer money used to pay for these de­ten­tion ser­vices is go­ing to a cou­ple of pri­vate de­ten­tion com­pa­nies who are mak­ing a for­tune. Com­pare this to al­ter­na­tive forms of con­trol, such as re­lease on bond or own re­cog­ni­zance re­lease, where the cost per de­tained in­di­vid­ual ranges from 15 to 20 cents daily and the con­trol rate is nearly 100%. This de­ten­tion pol­icy has more holes in it than a 10-dol­lar toupee.

sys­tem is un­nec­es­sar­ily spend­ing bil­lions

of dol­lars on lock­ing up hun­dreds of thou­sands of non-crim­i­nals yearly. Be­fore the Pres­i­dent can­celled “catch and re­lease” Congress, un­happy with the re­moval rate of crim­i­nal im­mi­grants, man­dated that Home­land Se­cu­rity de­tain 34,000 crim­i­nal im­mi­grants daily. The op­er­a­tive word here is crim­i­nal. ICE was hav­ing dif­fi­culty meet­ing the crim­i­nal de­ten­tion man­date. Un­der the guid­ance of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ses­sions, ICE started fill­ing the quota with non-crim­i­nal im­mi­grants. Be­fore “catch and re­lease” was can­celled, de­ten­tion of non-crim­i­nal im­mi­grants was cost­ing tax­pay­ers more than $4 bil­lion yearly and they rep­re­sented more than 30% of the de­tained pop­u­la­tion. If the Pres­i­dent has his way, 100% manda­tory de­ten­tion of im­mi­grants, the cost will rise to $1,700,000,000 daily and we will have more than 10,500,000 per­sons in de­ten­tion.

is a form of civil con­fine­ment, be­cause de­por­ta­tion tri­als, which im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion is part of, are civil pro­ceed­ings - not crim­i­nal. De­spite im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion's le­gal char­ac­ter­i­za­tion as civil, in­di­vid­u­als in im­mi­gra­tion con­fine­ment are fre­quently treated no dif­fer­ently than in­di­vid­u­als in crim­i­nal con­fine­ment. Im­mi­gra­tion in­tent and Crim­i­nal be­hav­ior are as dif­fer­ent as night and day and should never be co-min­gled. How­ever, with few ex­cep­tions, pri­vate con­trac­tors en­gaged by ICE to pro­vide civil de­ten­tion ser­vices op­er­ate their fa­cil­i­ties like prisons. ICE con­trac­tors pri­mar­ily rely on the cor­rec­tional in­car­cer­a­tion stan­dards of care, cus­tody, and con­trol pro­to­cols de­signed for con­victed crim­i­nals. With the bless­ing of the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, these con­trac­tors im­pose crim­i­nal style re­stric­tions that carry far more costs and phy­co­log­i­cal dam­age than is nec­es­sary to ef­fec­tively man­age and care for the de­tained non­crim­i­nal im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion.

Of­fice (CBO) pre­dicted that the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion will run up a tril­lion-dol­lar deficit by 2020. This is two years sooner than orig­i­nally pro­jected

by the CBO. How­ever, the newly ap­pointed White House Chief Eco­nomic Ad­viser Larry Kud­low re­ported that Pres­i­dent Trump doesn't be­lieve that his tax cuts and spend­ing bill will drive the na­tional debt to its high­est level since World War II. The Chief Eco­nomic Ad­viser added par­en­thet­i­cally, “Even though the Pres­i­dent doesn't agree with the CBO pro­jec­tions, the ad­min­is­tra­tion is fever­ishly look­ing for ways to lower spend­ing sig­nif­i­cantly.” The irony be­tween the Pres­i­dent's de­ci­sion to end “catch and re­lease” and the CBO's pre­dic­tions that we are spend­ing our­selves into obliv­ion are not wasted on me. If only in­di­vid­u­als who pose a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity or as a sig­nif­i­cant flight risk are de­tained, the tax­pay­ers will save a lot of money. For the rel­a­tively few who re­quire fol­low on mon­i­tor­ing there are less ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives to de­ten­tion which can be used. Tax­pay­ers will save bil­lions of dol­lars in need­less and hurt­ful de­ten­tion of non­crim­i­nal im­mi­grants.

Pres­i­dent Trump has "whipped up" a lot of pop­u­lar anx­i­ety with his claims that all im­mi­grants need to be locked up to keep them from lay­ing waste to the na­tion. To be sure, lock­ing peo­ple up has its sup­port­ers; how­ever, mass im­pris­on­ment of non-crim­i­nals as a crime fight­ing strat­egy is a fool's er­rand. Crime and im­mi­gra­tion should never be con­flated. They are not the same thing. Over the years a sub­stan­tial body of knowl­edge has built up con­firm­ing two sim­ple yet pow­er­ful truths about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween im­mi­gra­tion and crime: im­mi­grants are less likely to com­mit se­ri­ous crimes or be jailed than na­tive-born in­di­vid­u­als, and high rates of im­mi­gra­tion are as­so­ci­ated with lower rates of vi­o­lent and prop­erty crimes. This holds true for im­mi­grants as well as non-im­mi­grated res­i­dents alike, re­gard­less of their coun­try of ori­gin or level of ed­u­ca­tion.

In other words, most im­mi­grants are not “crim­i­nals” by any com­monly ac­cepted def­i­ni­tion of the term and never will be. If the Ad­min­is­tra­tion's hope is that harsh im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies are go­ing to lower crime sta­tis­tics, those hopes are doomed to frus­tra­tion and fail­ure. These poli­cies will not lower crime rates, but they will wreak dev­as­ta­tion, despair and heart­break on the lives of fam­i­lies who have set roots and de­vel­oped eq­ui­ties in Amer­ica.

The fed­eral govern­ment has a fif­teen-year his­tory of in­ter­min­gling im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion and crime­fight­ing leg­is­la­tion, in word and deed. They have strongly con­veyed the mes­sage that the Pres­i­dent, the Congress and even the Amer­i­can peo­ple view civil im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion as an ef­fec­tive crim­i­nal law en­force­ment tool. Now, the ad­min­is­tra­tion is busy sell­ing the no­tion that de­tain­ing non-crim­i­nal im­mi­grants is es­sen­tial for en­hance­ment of na­tional se­cu­rity and pub­lic safety.

As the na­tion grap­ples with what to do about an over-reliance on crim­i­nal in­car­cer­a­tion and the ad­min­is­tra­tion works dili­gently to crim­i­nal­ize im­mi­grants, the time is ripe to re­visit the is­sue of civil im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion be­fore it breaks the bank.

Congress must re­ex­am­ine and mod­ify why and when civil de­ten­tion is re­quired, in­clud­ing max­i­miz­ing the use of al­ter­na­tives to de­ten­tion pro­grams to take ad­van­tage of cost sav­ings. In ad­di­tion, the govern­ment must be pru­dent with lim­ited re­sources by de­tain­ing only those who pose a risk to na­tional se­cu­rity or pub­lic safety. Pri­or­i­tiz­ing the use of scarce re­sources is the re­spon­si­ble thing to do, is con­sis­tent with other im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, and will help ac­com­plish the im­por­tant ob­jec­tives of en­forc­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws. A close ex­am­i­na­tion of the fig­ures makes it clear: the numbers be­hind civil im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion sim­ply do not add up to a sen­si­ble pol­icy.

The Ad­min­is­tra­tion needs to spend less time and money try­ing to crim­i­nal­ize non-im­mi­grated res­i­dents for po­lit­i­cal gain and spend more time try­ing to hu­man­ize them.

Ri­cardo In­zunza, a na­tive of San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia, was ap­pointed Deputy Com­mis­sioner of the for­mer Im­mi­gra­tion and Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Ser­vice (INS) by Pres­i­dent Ronald Reagan. Dur­ing his 8-year ten­ure, his of­fice was the cen­tral source for the de­vel­op­ment, im­ple­men­ta­tion and over­sight of all im­mi­gra­tion ser­vice poli­cies and prac­tices. Now as CEO of RIA In­ter­na­tional, Ltd, Ri­cardo is often asked to serve as a busi­ness con­sul­tant to clients such as the World Bank and the Peo­ples Repub­lic of China. He can be reached at 662 268 1115 (O), 662 418 0913 (M), or ri­a­tria@aol.com

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