Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Meet The New Boss (Same As The Old Boss)

Trump Administration Moves to Expand Deportation Dragnet to Jails:

The Trump administration is working with like-minded sheriffs from around the country on a plan to channel undocumented immigrants from local jails into federal detention, according to several sheriffs involved in the discussions. If it succeeds, it could vastly expand the dragnet that has already begun to transform immigration enforcement in the United States.
The plan is intended to circumvent court decisions that have thus far limited the role of local law enforcement in immigration. It involves a legal move regarding detainers, which are requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to local sheriffs or police departments to hold people who are suspected of being in the country illegally, even after they have posted bail, finished their jail sentence or otherwise resolved their criminal cases.
A handful of sanctuary cities refuse to honor detainers on ideological grounds, but a larger number of sheriffs who otherwise support the Trump administration have also turned down detainers because courts have found that they violate the Fourth Amendment.
The legal move, in which sheriffs would essentially serve as contractors for ICE, is intended to protect sheriffs from such court battles, which have sometimes resulted in costly payouts. Some legal advocates for immigrants, though, expressed doubt that courts would view it as being different from current practices.
Let's pause for a moment to note a couple of things. First, there is absolutely NOTHING new being proposed here that isn't already being done or has been done during the past eight years under the Obama administration. ICE "holds" have been common, really, going back to the W. Bush administration. 

Second, while some holds are found to violate the 4th amendment, this is only related to the time the person is being held versus the crime for which they have been arrested. In other words, let's say a defendant is arrested for DUI and ICE puts a hold on him. If ICE doesn't come to pick him up before he bonds out on the DUI, the jail can't hold him; that would violate the 4th. But in most cases, they do get them before bail/bond is met and they then disappear into the vast morass of federal detention. Again, nothing new.
Since Mr. Trump was inaugurated, ICE has issued roughly 11,000 detainers a month, a 78 percent increase over the previous year. The agency declined to make data available on the number of detainers that are currently declined by sheriffs and other local departments.
That's because the resistance to Trump's presidency is causing most sheriffs and local departments to balk at these detainers (and not just "Sanctuary City" departments either). And even assuming all 11,000 detainers were being enforced, it would still pale in comparison to the roughly 33,000 immigrants per month being detained and deported during the Obama years (meaning the Trump administration is actually detaining and deporting FEWER immigrants than Obama did...gasp, I know).
Sheriffs are seen as particularly important allies in immigration enforcement. They operate 85 percent of the nation’s jails and have ready access to the most desirable candidates for deportation: undocumented immigrants with criminal records or charges. Immigration arrests that are made in jails are also safer and require fewer resources.
Under the proposed legal tactic, ICE and the sheriff would sign a contract that pays the sheriff’s department a daily fee to hold the immigrant until ICE can take the person into custody. The legal argument is that the arrangement effectively makes the immigrant a detainee of ICE, not the sheriff’s department, and allows the sheriff to hold the person on a noncriminal charge.
Again, not only is this not new, it was pioneered under the Bush administration's "SECURE Communities" program of 2008, and amped up under the Obama administration (Obama briefly changed the name of Secure Communities to Priorities Enforcement Program when he pretended to end it in 2014, but the program never went out of existence). 

The feds began paying local jails and private prison companies between $80-$120 per day, per immigrant, to hold individuals for unspecified amounts of time. Despite the resistance, the per diem payments are manna from heaven for local Sheriff's and jailers since the average cost to hold someone is $30/day. Cashing the Federal check for $120/day means a profit margin of +400%. Good times, indeed.

Critics refer to this as the "Shadow Private Prison Industry" that has been soaking tax payers for over a decade now, and running more than 3 million immigrants through jails and detention facilities on their way to deportation. Essentially, what the Trump administration is doing is trying to catch up with what Obama and Bush did, hitting that magic number of 400,000 deportations every year. And so far, because of Trump's unpopularity and the so-called "resistance" to his presidency among local law enforcement, they are failing miserably (well, if you can call not rounding up and deporting a half million people a year "failure").

I get the politics of this. Trump ran on "building a wall," and implying that we weren't doing anything about illegal immigration, and he'd the be "deporter in chief," and Mexican rapists, and so forth. It was one of his signature issues, even though there was zero factual evidence behind it (Obama banishing 400,000 immigrants a year is a pretty tough nut to crack, they are finding out). So they have to appear to be "winning" on this issue.

But the reality, again, is that nothing has changed, these policies are mere continuations of what Obama and Bush did, and in fact Trump is detaining and deporting fewer immigrants than previous administrations. 

"Fake news" or whatever, facts are stubborn things.

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