In a move not being emphasized publicly by the administration – surely no need to anger Hispanic voters this close to Election Day – President Obama is actually vastly increasing the number of detention centers and beds so that illegal immigrants aren’t simply released into society, never to be seen again. At least, not seen again until amnesty day.
According to Reuters:
The surge in child migration from Central America is receding but the United States is aggressively pushing ahead with plans to expand detentions, a little-publicized part of a broader campaign to deter illegal migrants.
Under pressure from opposition Republicans to stem the unprecedented flow of children earlier this year, the Obama administration beginning in June pledged to speedily return them to their home countries and help better secure borders in Mexico and Central America.
But a third leg of that strategy has quietly created a network of family detention centers to lock up some children and their parents rather than freeing them pending deportation hearings.
The centers, which were opened this summer to receive families with children, are in Artesia, New Mexico and Karnes, Texas. Another one in Texas is scheduled to open in coming months. With little public debate, they have effectively become flagships of the Obama administration’s “get tough” campaign to discourage future border crossings.
These augment a Pennsylvania facility that has been in operation since 2001, but holds only small numbers of people.
It represents a U-turn for the Obama administration, which for five years favored less restrictive programs, such as ankle bracelets and telephone check-ins, for keeping tabs on families while they awaited court decisions on whether or not they would be deported . . .
The big expansion of detention beds, from only 90 last year to about 3,700 by the end of this year, comes amid data showing that the seasonal migration wave has receded. The number of families coming over the border declined to 3,295 in August, from 16,329 in June.
Look, the president is still going to unilaterally issue some kind of partial amnesty after the election, which takes some of the excitement out of the news that he’s more serious about deporting people. But this is a good step nonetheless.