Category: operation streamline

This is what real immigration reform looks like

By Alan Bean

On February 23rd, several advocacy groups are sponsoring a briefing for congressional staff that shines a spotlight on Operation Streamline and the link between immigration policy and the private prison boom.

What is Operation Streamline, you ask?  This helpful fact sheet will bring you up to speed.  Pay particular attention to the recommendations at the very end.  It’s good to see proponents of a sane and sensible immigration policy placing concrete policy recommendations on the table.

Don’t Turn Comprehensive Immigration Reform into a
Prison Boom and Private Prison Bailout

Bipartisan negotiations over immigration reform – which pit a “pathway to citizenship” against “more
enforcement” – could lead to an expansion of “Operation Streamline” and federal felony prosecutions
of people crossing the Mexican border into the US. Criminal prosecutions of migrants promote the
unnecessary growth of private prisons at a time when crime is down nationwide. Lucrative contracts
for 13 “Criminal Alien Requirement” (CAR) prisons only serve the interests of private prison
profiteers, not public safety. (more…)

If you think private prisons make sense, read this . . .

By Alan Bean

The Sentencing Project published this report over a year ago but it remains the single best introduction to the truly scary private prison industry on the web.  Like everything put out by Marc Mauer’s organization, Too Good to be True: Private Prisons in America is cautious, understated, balanced and authoritative.

Nationwide, about half the states have significant private prison populations and half do not.  Some states dabbled with privatization, then gave it up; others have recently developed an unwarranted enthusiasm for selling their prisons to the private industry.

But it is the federal prison system, thanks largely to almost invisible programs like Operation Streamline, that is the real sugar daddy for one of America’s creepiest industries.  Since 2005, when the feds started prosecuting the folks detained at the border for illegal entry or illegal re-entry, 400,000, largely Latino detainees spend time in federal prisons and detention centers every year.  Latinos comprise 16% of the American population and over 50% of federal prisoners. (more…)

Libal: Operation streamline must end

By Bob Libal

Immigration Reform Must End, Not Expand, Operation Streamline

The debate over the proposed “comprehensive immigration reform” bill is intensifying, with a “gang of six” senators attempting to hash out a bill that would regularize the status of some undocumented immigrants but may also include increased funding for harsh border enforcement policies.

This debate overlooks the astounding fact that federal spending on immigration enforcement now surpasses all other federal law enforcement activities combined. One of the most costly of these programs is Operation Streamline, a little-known enforcement program that is part of broader trend funneling immigrants into the criminal justice system. These policies channel billions of dollars to private prison corporations and are fueling the explosive growth in numbers of Latinos in prison. The “gang of six” are reportedly considering expanding funding of Operation Streamline. (more…)

How Immigration Reform Got Caught in the Deportation Dragnet

Shahed Hossain Photo: Erin Hollaway

Things have only gotten worse since Seth Wessler published this piece in Colorlines almost two years ago.  From Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, proponents of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) have believed that tough deportation policies provided the quid pro quo concession that would bring immigration hawks to the bargaining table.  It hasn’t worked.  This misbegotten strategy has simply ensured that hardliners provided the harsh narrative driving the immigration debate.  Minor tweaks to American immigration policy (like president Obama’s recent announcement that undocumented adolescents would no longer be targeted for deportation) aren’t sufficient.  We need a thoroughgoing critique of existing policy and an alternative vision rooted in compassion and common sense.  The status quo has got to go.  AGB

How Immigration Reform Got Caught in the Deportation Dragnet

by Seth Freed Wessler

Thursday, October 7 2010,

On the night that Shahed Hossain left his family’s house in a Haltom City, Texas, to drive to Laredo, his mother, Habiba Hossain, cooked dinner—chicken and rice and okra picked from the garden. She piled her son’s plate high and watched him eat. Then, she took his Bangladeshi passport from a drawer and handed it to him, leaving his green card safely stored away. The 21-year-old had a penchant for losing things and a green card is not a thing to lose. She hurried him out the door and into the white utility van in the driveway where his boss waited.

“I’ll see him in a week,” she thought. Like every other time he’d set off for work trips all over Texas, she figured, her younger son would return to that house where he grew up with his brother and his parents and the dog.

But that night was the last time Shahed Hossain’s mother would see him free in United States, the last time she’d have a chance to worry he’d lose anything. Six days later, Hossain was locked up in a privately run immigration detention center near the U.S.-Mexico border. He spent more than a year there, a period he’s tried to forget, before he was shackled, loaded onto a plane and flown to Dhaka, Bangladesh. (more…)