DHS DEATHWATCH: Another Detainee Dies In Custody! — Fatalities Likely To Increase As Trump Ramps Up Arrests & Detentions!

https://www.buzzfeed.com/adolfoflores/another-immigrant-has-died-in-ice-custody-and-critics-worry?utm_term=.nsKXk5aRM#.mjem7V6rn

Adolfo Flores reports in BuzzFeed News:

“The death of an undocumented immigrant while in the custody of federal authorities is the latest in a series of deaths that advocates worry will continue to grow as more people living illegally in the US are detained under the Trump administration.

Vicente Caceres-Maradiaga, 46, died Wednesday night from acute coronary syndrome as he was being transferred to a hospital from a private detention center in Adelanto, California. He is the ninth person to die in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. That compares to 10 deaths for all of fiscal year 2016.

The Daily Beast was the first to report on the trend.

Christina Fialho, executive director of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), said the deaths were disturbing.

“They also point to systemic failures that are likely to grow even starker as the Trump administration carries out its crackdown on immigration,” Fialho told BuzzFeed News. “I have no doubt that the increase in immigration detention deaths is directly connected to both the increase in the number of people detained and the effective elimination of federal standards on humane treatment.”

Operating under executive orders and memos from the Trump administration that call for an increase in arrests of people living illegally in the US, data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University found that there has already been a sharp increase in the number of detainees who are waiting for their court cases to be heard.

The rise in both the number of arrests and detainees is a change from the Obama administration, which allowed many undocumented immigrants out of detention while their legal cases played out — a practice maligned by critics as “catch-and-release.” During Obama’s tenure, 27% of people with immigration cases were kept in custody, compared to 61% under Trump, according to TRAC.”

******************************************************************

Read the entire article at the link.

I suppose that this Administration just looks at detainee deaths as a “cost of doing business.” Or, perhaps “collateral damage” as they say in the military. As noted in prior posts, private detention facilities had been determined by the DOJ’s Inspector General to have substandard conditions. Under then Attorney General Lynch, the DOJ was in the process of phasing private detention out of the prison system. While the DHS had not taken the same action with respect to civil immigration detention, then Secretary Johnson had received a report from an Advisory Committee noting the problems with private detention and recommending that it be phased out. The Trump Administration, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions leading the way, has reversed the course and intends to maximize the use of private detention while it builds it promised “American gulag” for both civil detainees and criminals. At no time that I am aware of have Trump, Sessions, or Kelly expressed any concern about detention standards or the health and safety of detainees.

PWS

06-03-17

AG Sessions Rejuvenates Institutional Hearing Program (“IHP”) For Criminal Removals!

Attorney General Sessions Announces Expansion and Modernization of Program to Deport Criminal Aliens

A USDOJ Press Release states:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced the expansion and modernization of the Department’s Institutional Hearing Program (IHP).

The IHP identifies removable criminal aliens who are inmates in federal correctional facilities, provides in-person and video teleconference (VTC) immigration removal proceedings, and removes the alien upon completion of sentence, rather than releasing the alien to an ICE detention facility or into the community for adjudication of status. Bringing an Immigration Judge to the inmate for a determination of removability, rather than vice versa, saves time and resources and speeds hearings.

The program is coordinated by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“We owe it to the American people to ensure that illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes and are serving time in our federal prisons are expeditiously removed from our country as the law requires,” said Attorney General Sessions. “This expansion and modernization of the Institutional Hearing Program gives us the tools to continue making Americans safe again in their communities.”

The expansion and modernization of the IHP program will occur in the following three ways:

1. ICE, BOP, and EOIR will expand the number of active facilities with the program to a total of 14 BOP and 6 BOP contract facilities;

2. EOIR and BOP will increase each facility’s VTC capabilities and update existing infrastructure to aid in the ability to conduct removal proceedings; and

3. EOIR and ICE will finalize a new and uniform intake policy. EOIR and ICE expect to have reached agreement on this new intake process by April 6, 2017.

These improvements will speed the process of deporting incarcerated criminal aliens and will reduce costs to taxpayers.”

******************************

The IHP has been around for many years.  However, recently it has not been a point of emphasis for the DHS.

Restoring emphasis and expanding the program makes sense. It deals with serious criminals, while they are serving time in Federal or state penitentiaries, and therefore does not raise some of the sensitive community enforcement and local police cooperation issues tripped by the Administration’s expanded criminal priorities.

A few points of concern:

1) It’s usually very difficult to get attorneys to represent individuals in the IHP;

2) The VTC (“televideo”) equipment upon which the IHP depends for conducting hearings has in the past sometimes been less than reliable;

3) The “new” priorities on the U.S. Immigration Court are starting to pile up; to “prioritize IHP cases other cases in the Immigration Court’s 540,000 backlog will have to be put aside;

4) In the past, there have been some irrationalities in IHP scheduling; too often cases of individuals whose “earliest release date” is literally decades from now are treated as “priorities” for no good reason, forcing more viable cases further back in the queue.

Given the Administration’s priority on criminal removals, this looks like a smart move.  However, the proof will be in the execution, which, based on my experience, takes an exceptionally high degree of coordination and cooperation among different entities.

PWS

03/31/17