Sunday, November 20, 2011

Planned ICE Private Prisons In FL, IL, NJ, TX and CA To Hold Non-criminal Illegals

ICE and Corrections Corporation of America plan to build non-criminal illegal immigrant detention facilities in Florida, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey and California, despite national discretionary policy to grant stays for undocumented immigrants.

By H. Nelson Goodson
November 20, 2011

Southwest Ranches, Florida - The Associated Press (AP) and other media sources like Latino Fox News (LFN) have reported an ongoing proposed plan for the last 10 years between local government officials at Southwest Ranches, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to build a private run detention facility to hold between 1,500 to 2,500 beds for non-criminal illegal immigrants. A majority of the Southwest Ranches residents have opposed the proposed facility and claimed that the parties negiotiating the plan have failed to publicly let the community know what are the actual details in the last decade. Most residents became aware of the proposed detention facility after ICE finally announced the proposed plan this year.
CCA and Southwest Ranches government officials have managed to maintain secrecy to try and avoid opposition, which has risen despite attempts to keep details under the table. Southwest Ranches with a population of 7,000, has been struggling to meet a $9 million dollar budget and most homes are valued at $100,000 or more.
Mayor Jeff Nelson hopes that CCA and ICE can finally come into agreement and approve the detention facility plan, which is expected to cost Southwest Ranches about $150,000 per year to keep it operating and in return would get 4 percent payment from ICE of what it pays CCA to run a facility.
Proposed plans for other detention facilities in San Antonio, Texas; Crete, Illinois; Essex County, New Jersey and Orange County, California has drawn less controversy or opposition than Southwest Ranches, according LFN. The new proposed private detention facilities would help relieve over capacity in local and county jails around the country.
A conservative estimate for 150,000 bed facility at Southwest Ranches would generate about $400,000 in revenue, if partially filled to capacity and $400,000 in real estate taxes. The facility in Boward County bordering with the City of Pembroke Pines would cost between $100 to $200 million to build making it the largest illegal immigrant detention facility in the country. It would provide 300 permanent jobs, which two-thirds would be for guards.
On Friday, the Diario de Mexico USA reported that CCA is planning to build another non-criminal illegal immigrant detention private facility in Crete, Illinois. The prison would be located about 30 miles South of Chicago.
According to the article, Thomas Durkin, CCA administrator had confirmed that the corporation and local city officials in Crete had tentatively approved a contract to build it.
Today, CCA generates $200 million annually from 12 percent of federal revenue for operating ICE detention facilities, according to a CCA company revenue report.
The Detention Watch Network (DWN) reported that since the late 1990’s, the number of people held in immigration detention has exploded. On any given day, ICE detains over 33,000 immigrants; this is more than triple the number of people detained in 1996. In the last 5 years alone, the annual number of immigrants detained and the costs of detaining them has doubled: in 2009, 383,524 immigrants were detained, costing taxpayers $1.7 billion at an average of $122 a day per bed. Nearly 2.5 million individuals have passed through immigration detention facilities since 2003. DWN report at link:
In the U.S., an average of 75,000 illegal immigrants (inmates) are held in more than 60 private prison facilities in 19 states including Washington, D.C. In Florida alone, there are 5 private detention facilities.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began a national comprehensive training program for ICE agents to begin enforcement of a discretionary policy to screen non-criminal and criminal illegal immigrants detained. Federal prosecutors and ICE agents will now be expected to review 300,000 case-by-case detentions to determine and deport those illegal immigrants that have returned illegally to the U.S., been convicted of serious and felony criminal acts.
Those illegal immigrants who have been detained, but are not considered dangerous, a national security threat, young school children and college students considered DREAMERs (who would qualify under the DREAM Act), elderly, undocumented veterans and heads of families that are dependent to support families won't be prioritised for deportation.
Those detainees considered recipients of the ICE immigration discretionary stay policy will be able to qualify for legal yearly stays, which would be determined during immigration hearings. The action to allow non-criminal detainees to remain in the U.S. is expected to relieve the conjested federal immigration court system.
With the proposed ICE and CCA plans to continue to build private detention facilities to hold non-criminal illegal immigrants in various states can only mean one thing, that massive non-criminal deportations will continue as usual throughout the U.S. But, if the ICE discretionary policy actually works and allows thousands of non-criminal illegal immigrants to qualify for year long stays, then the CCA proposed detention center facility in Southwest Ranches, Florida and in other states, IL, NJ, TX and CA are obsolete and a waste of federal funding and spending.
Federal prosecutions of illegal immigrants have increased by 42 percent within the first two years, since President Barack H. Obama took office. The federal prison system reported an increase of incarcerations of illegal Hispanic convicted felons for returning to the U.S. after they were deported.
So far, more than 1 million illegal immigrants have been deported under Obama's Presidency. ICE despite the stay policy will continue to deport more than 1,000 illegals per month or more than 400,000 per year.
Overall, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 396,906 individuals, which is the largest number deported in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.
Of those illegal immigrants convicted of crimes who were detained and removed, 107,000 were flagged by the Secure Communities program, according to ICE.

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