No, GOP, Immigration Detention is no ‘Holiday’

Republicans in the House of Representatives have held insultingly titled hearings into conditions in immigration jails.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement called their hearing held last week “Holiday on ICE” (ICE is Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said that the hearings were on “hospitality guidelines,” but in reality they covered proposed new ICE rules, such as on the shackling of pregnant women, women’s health care including routine pelvic and breast examinations, Pap smear and STI tests, mammograms, a minimum of recreation and decent sanitation and clean drinking water.

Lamar claimed that the proposed rules “[treat] them better than citizens in federal custody, whereas the rules only extend some of the conditions expected in jails for criminals.

The new ICE rules lampooned by House Republicans address a well-documented human rights crisis in increasingly privatized immigration jails, which house refugees and asylum seekers fleeing persecution as well as the undocumented.

And the new proposed rules do not extend to protections against rape provided to those in the correctional system.

As the system grew more rapidly than thoughtfully, reports from the government itself as well as from media, non-governmental organizations such as Human Rights First, and international human rights bodies have documented chronic problems.

Problems in facilities include excessive use of shacking and strip-searches, overuse of solitary confinement, medical neglect, sexual abuse, deaths, challenges in accessing legal counsel and telephones, frequent transfers, noncompliance with existing standards, lack of oversight and interference with the open practice of religion. They include in some facilities a lack of cleanliness, heating and even food.

An Australian government inquiry has just found that the sort of prolonged detention also practiced in America causes endemic mental illness.

Some “holiday.”

Another issue is the use of detention despite the availability of dramatically less costly, less restrictive and highly successful alternatives to detention programs.

Those working within the system, such as counsel Annie Sovcik, accused the House Republicans of “trying to sensational [sic] and belittle what is a difficult problem.”

She asked instead that they “get down to the real business of figuring out how to implement the changes that can make immigration detention facilities safer and more humane.”

Related stories:

Sexual Abuse of US Refugee Detainees Pervasive

More Complaints on Treatment of LGBT Refugee and Immigrant Detainees

Hunger and Cold Stalk Immigration Detainees in U.S.

Picture by Carrie Sloan


Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

hate republicans!

lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

If I were to ask you about use of the possessive case or the subjunctive or any finer points of English grammar, I doubt that you could explain. That's OK. No one's perfect.
Usually, the children are used as the translators, interpreters in all sorts of difficult situations like medical ones Have you for instance, as a seven year old translated a gynaecological problem for a migrant woman. Thought not.Your solution is "Send them back".
If people want to preserve their heritage, their culture and their language to pass on to their children and grandchildren, shouldn't they be allowed to? Isn't that what makes the world the multicoloured place it is?
Luckily for you, most Europeans and increasing numbers of Asians are fluent in English so that should you go overseas, they will try to understand you which seems more than what you could or would do. I could have pointed out more errors in your English but that isn't the problem. Your attitude is and attitudes are very difficult to change.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

@ Patricia M. Thank you for your compassionate comments. Congratulations. I'm so pleased your family and you were acceptable as "immigrants" having done it the "legal" way (don't know who deemed it as legal as I'm pretty sure the original inhabitants didn't have much of a say). It is wonderful that they "put down their native tongue and "talked" English. Not English as a second language but English as a first." Sadly your comments show that they were not very successful in teaching you English.
I learnt English as a Second Language (actually a fifth language) but my poor Mother who was literate in five languages could never master English. She was too old to learn it at her stage of life. Because I was a "Dago, a Wop, a Gyppo" with no English language skills, I had to learn fast if I were ever to be accepted. I learnt fast! To her dying day my mother was never accepted by many locals but she had people galore seeking help with the bureaucratic nightmares of dealing with an English speaking country. I have spent so much of my life translating, interpreting and writing letters for non English speaking people. Still do. And because people take me for an native English speaker, they assume that I am. Sadly they also make intolerant, bigoted comments like yours.

Sadly also, your written English is appalling. One doesn't "talk" English, one speaks it. I don't mean to belittle or demean your efforts. I just put it down to perhaps poor keyboard skills. If I were to ask you abou

Patricia McIntosh

Well I think they should send them back to there home county plain and simple. Unless your a Indian then your relatives were immigrants. Mine were. They came the legal way, put down their native tongue and talked "English"! That's right, "English". Not English as a second language but English as a first. I know people who came from another country over thirty years ago and still need a interpreter. What the heck is that? Their kids had to be taught English as a second language when they started school. That is so unacceptable. If you want to move to some one else country at least learn there language and then teach it to your kids. Don't keep wasting the tax payers dollars by making every generation after you have to go learn it all over again. And if you like your language so well then go back to your country that speaks it. I just don't get why these mothers want their children embarrassed by being put in the special class when they never need to be!!

Robert Tedders
Robert T5 years ago

@Rosemary G.: Seems like a pretty fair point - kudos to you for not being completely biased towards one side of this thing.

@Berny P..: Can't you be more like Rosemary? How would you feel if you went somewhere as a tourist, were robbed and then treated like less than nothing? I know it's not an ideal comparison but still.....

lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

Steve R. You obviously don't know what you are talking about. Please do some research before you vent your ill informed views. I believe that the US is a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees. As such it has certain international obligations. One of those is non refoulement (Look it up). Asylum seekers and refugees are not "illegal aliens" as you call them. Illegals may have overstayed their visas, falsified papers, lied about criminal history, etc.There is a difference.

I am given to understand that the US deported some Vietnamese who had been raised and educated in the States, not taken out citizenship and got themselves into trouble with the law. There's quite a group of them in Vietnam now with no language skills, friends, jobs, etc. Choice!

Couldn't agree with you more, Robert O. Sounds like the US is losing its humanity and decency and its moral compass and superiority.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

Oh Berny P. How can you be so heartless? The "proper channel" as you call it, may be starvation, terror, sickness, persecution, death or if one is lucky, a wait of years in a refugee camp.

Australia has mandatory detention for asylum seekers and that has proved divisive in the community. As the article mentions, a recent review into the system was critical of the treatment of asylum seekers in detention. Mental illness after prolonged detention was on the increase; there were rising rates of self harm and suicides. These people are human and desperate.
The Australian Government has attempted to introduce voluntary repatriation to country of origin but the horrendous stories of the fate of those repatriated are chilling e.g. an Afghani, a member of an ethnic minority, was thought to have become too close to the West. He was thrown down a well in his village and a hand grenade thrown in after him. All in front of 35 onlookers including children. This documented by the Reverend Tim Costello, Director of WorldVision.
Thank you to Rosemary G. for recognising the human rights violations that the US is committing in ICE jails.

Donna B.
Donna B5 years ago

This is sad and no person deserves to be treated this way, illegal or not!

Diane B.
Diane B5 years ago

If you don't want to go to jail, then don't break the laws! DUH!

Stanley Balgobin
Stanley R5 years ago

Get the GOP TP for a ICE holiday, Paul Ryan, Sanitarium, Romney, Karl Rove, The Kochroach bros, Dick Cheney, George W Bush, the Wall street crooks, the CEO bank parasites, all for a very long vacation on ICE now.