Arizona Republic: Changes to immigrant-detention system coming, official says
WASHINGTON – The head of U.S. immigration enforcement on Monday announced plans for an overhaul of the government‘s controversial detention system for people who face deportation.
The moves described by John T. Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, address oversight, medical care and tracking of detainees at facilities in Arizona and across the country.
• Hiring 50 federal employees to oversee the largest detention facilities, which now are largely run by contractors without much government oversight, Morton said.
• Assigning regional case managers to keep tabs on detainees with significant medical problems to ensure they are getting proper care. Detainees with major problems will be housed in facilities near hospitals and medical centers, Morton said.
• In June, launching an online immigrant-detainee locator so family members can easily find their relatives when they are in custody awaiting possible deportation.
“You can look up their name and find out where they are and what the visiting hours are at that detention facility,” Morton said, during a speech at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.
Under the current system, families and immigrant-rights attorneys complain they often have trouble finding out where detainees have been taken after they are arrested for immigration violations. ICE often transfers immigration detainees to centers hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away in other states, far from their homes, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch.
The new “detainee locator” and other initiatives are the newest details of a major overhaul announced last fall of the controversial detention system that houses about 380,000 illegal-immigration suspects a year at more than 400 sites in Arizona and throughout the nation. [Read the rest of the article here.]