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via @LIRSorg: “These are people” vs. “dollars & cents”; Alternatives to Detention

October 14, 2011

Reposted from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services blog

In many cities across the nation,debate around immigration detention has heated up.  In Essex County,New Jersey  a new detention facility has brought up questions about where our nation’s priorities lie:with people or profits. From the New Jersey Star Ledger:

Detention facilities create moneymaking opportunities for local governments and private firms,but advocates say they’re profiting from a flawed policy of mandatory detention for immigrants who may have only committed civil,not criminal,violations.

“There’s been no discussion that these are people,”said Kathy O’Leary of Pax Christi,a Catholic social justice organization. “There’s been much discussion about the dollars and cents.”

Kathy O’Leary,an active contributor to our Facebook page,has it spot on:any clear conversation around the issue of detention has become seriously compromised by the presence of private interest at the table. Once there is a financial incentive to detain immigrants,and once shareholders demand that this practice become increasingly profitable,there is very little possibility to reexamine the need to detain people who have committed no crime and are therefore no danger to society.

The Obama administration has been detaining and deporting immigrants at record levels and private corrections companies are posting increasing profits in turn. But local governments also seem to be getting a helping hand from the powerless immigrants.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr.,once called the “Jack Welsh of correctional facilities”for his ability to turn inmates into dollars,said detainees will be a crucial source of revenue as his county wrestles with a tough economy.

“The $250 million we expect to receive over the five-year contract will significantly help reduce the financial burden on our taxpayers,”he said.

Currently,undocumented immigrants are being treated like a commodity and not like human beings with inherent dignity.  Without the rights of due process and legal representation,the immigration system in the U.S deems citizenship the pre-requisite for rights,not participation in the human species. In the U.S.,a person detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who doesn’t have proof of U.S. citizenship is not protected by the U.S. Constitution.  This allows a person to be detained without trial indefinitely,and gives them no legal rights. Any system that denies people their rights based on a non-essential qualification such as race or gender or documentation is by definition discriminatory.

ICE has made repeated claims to be enacting improvements to their detention facilities. This still leaves the underlying question unaddressed.  Should undocumented immigrants be held in detention if they do not pose any threat to their local community?

That is why we are tirelessly working on a solution to this problem:Alternatives to Detention. Using both a Risk Assessment Tool and Community Support networks,we believe that immigrants can be released from detention,maintain their dignity,and still maintain a high court-appearance rate at a fraction of the cost. Watch this video for a quick overview above or here: Alternatives to Detention on Vimeo.

These alternatives to detention protect the freedoms of the detainees,and treat immigrants with the dignity and respect they deserve. The problem is that such policies cut deeply into the pockets of corporations,so we need you to make the case with us. In a few weeks we will be releasing a report on the use of Alternatives to Detention and we need you to join us in pushing the government to stop the abuse of immigrants who have been trapped in an unforgiving system that thrives on disorder and denial of rights.

If we accept that all people,regardless of nationality,have God given rights,than we need to stand tall against this form of abuse. Stay tuned for our upcoming report and join you voice to those who are calling for an end to these inhumane practices.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 14, 2011 7:18 pm



    Every jobless man and women should join the fight, to assure that Rep. Lamar Smith “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” passes. Some of the positive aspects are that it will determine who has a right to settle, work in the United States. E-Verify is part of the H.R. (H.R. 2885, Only the open border and special interests coalitions have an agenda to stop its passage and will not go down without a bitter battle. It is estimated that 8 to 9 million illegal aliens are lucratively employed in the United States and dependent territories, and need to be replaced by the growing ranks of unemployed legal workers.

    Taking illegal aliens out of American jobs they don’t deserve has never been popular with many in Congress. Its utterly disgusting that some Members of Congress –either Democrat or Republicans– give enforcement measures like E-Verify lip service, but they can’t be counted on to act when they have the chance. What we’re now seeing with the House Ways and Means Committee sitting on H.R. 2885, Rep Lamar Smith’s mandatory E-Verify bill? It sure looks that way to patriotic Americans, Multi-millions of TEA PARTY members. Every legal immigrant, whether Black, White, Hispanic, Latino, Asian of any race.

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT A person’s ethnicity, as the special interests wishes you to perceive? It’s about saving the state of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, even Liberal California and Nevada—it’s about—ASTRONOMICAL–billions of dollars—IN YOUR MONEY—being extracted from you by the tax code to support people who have illegally homesteaded in this nation. It’s about overcrowded schools, closing hospitals and a clogged prison system.
    Here are four quick facts from NumbersUSA, the pro-sovereignty website.

    1) 22 million Americans cannot find a full-time job.

    2) Chairman Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) E-Verify bill, the Legal Workforce Act, will free up millions of these jobs for the legal workers who deserve them.

    3) E-Verify have cleared its biggest single hurdle, when it passed (without crippling amendments!) through the House Judiciary Committee.

    4) Now, the House Ways and Means Committee must either agree to the bill or just send it directly to the House Floor for action. If Ways and Means doesn’t agree to H.R. 2885, the bill will probably go nowhere, that is—-it will die.
    5) President Obama’s “job act” that relates to “Construction” jobs must go to citizens and lawful residents. Other than U.S. farmers building Contractors and their sub-contractors are the worst perpetrators of hiring illegal aliens. Currently a third of US businesses and corporations are using E-Verify, to employ American job hunters. Prestigious skilled workers, should be given a high preference for a working visa, but—ECONOMIC—illegal aliens should not be accepted or tourists and other overstays who never return to birth place. A “Bracero” type program should be available for honest farmers, but with a tracking system so field labor returns home, when their visa expires.

    The truth is, if Americans fail to get H.R. 2885 past the Ways and Means Committee, all the hard work this year will have been for nothing! NOTHING! We must get that committee to send this bill on to the Floor.

    More about the Ways and Means Committee and E-Verify

    You may ask, “Why does the Ways and Means Committee have jurisdiction over an immigration enforcement bill?. One of the greatest features of H.R. 2885 is the “No Match” letters to employers and the “Multiple Match” notices to employees.

    These will identify illegal aliens using fictitious or stolen identities. They will lead to mass firings of illegal aliens who currently have jobs.

    Both the “No Match” letters and the multiple match letters sections of H.R. 2885 are connected to the Social Security Administration. The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over those parts of the bill. If Chairman Lamar Smith is forced to strip out those provisions, MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS would have permanent access to jobs they have already gained illegally.


    And why would the Ways and Means Committee be blocking this bill anyway? Do they have legitimate differences on policy issues? Is it out of spite or legislative turf protecting? Sure looks that way. Whatever the reason for them sitting on this bill, the result is millions of Americans left without work because illegal aliens are filling the jobs!

    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE…are you content to see that happen? Let me ask it another way. Are you determined to get the ENTIRE E-VERIFY BILL, including the N0 MATCH AND MULTIPLE MATCH LETTERS, SIGNED INTO LAW?

    Good. Me, too! At NumbersUSA, they are in total battle mode. They have the servers to send out free faxes like there is no tomorrow. They are pushing forward new technology to help in the effort. They are providing toll-free telephone numbers where we think they are needed. They are even advertising directly in the backyards of Members of Congress who carry the most weight on these decisions.

    Study “ImmigrationCounters site for in depth details on illegal immigrations, such as statistics, jobs, Social Services and welfare and figures on incarcerations. REMEMBER THE CHIEF MAJORITY OF THE TEA PARTY, WILL NEGATE ANY CHANCE OF ANOTHER AMNESTY, OR ANY TYPE OF SHREWD ILLEGAL ALIEN CLEMENCY.

    These reluctant politicians must be shown no peace, by our calls and free faxes, compliments of NumbersUSA. Contact Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH); House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) ; House Chairman of Ways & Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI); & Members of the Ways & Means Committee. You can additionally contact your own local Senator or Representative or federal politician at 202-224-3121 and insist on E-Verify. NEBRASKA, Rep. Berg, Rick (GOP) (202-225-2611) ; NEBRASKA, Rep. Smith, Adrian (GOP) (202-225-6435); LOUISIANA, Rep. Boustany, Charles (GOP) (202-225-2031); MICHIGAN, Rep. Camp, Dave (GOP) (202-225-3561) & (202-225-2031); KENTUCKY, Rep. Davis, Geoff (GOP) (202-225-3465); PENNSYLVANIA, Rep. Gerlach, Jim (GOP)(202-225-4315); KANSAS, Rep. Jenkins, Lynn (GOP)(202-225-6601); MINNESOTA, Rep. Paulsen, Erik (GOP)(202-225-2871); WASHINGTON, Rep. Reichert, Dave (GOP) (202-225-7761); WISCONSIN, Rep. Ryan, Paul (GOP) (202-225-3031)


    You can additionally contact your own local Senator or Representative or federal politician at 202-224-3121 and insist on E-Verify.

    One Old Vet saying, “Stand next to me and you’ll never stand alone.”


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