Among the new amenities, the Karnes City facility contains a library with free Internet access, cable TV, an indoor gym with basketball courts, soccer fields, and sand and nets for beach volleyball. Instead of guards, unarmed “resident advisers” patrol the grounds. And the cost of the complex? Over $30 million taxpayer dollars.
To make matters worse, the new standards expand a complaint process against ICE officers and facilities. It offers numerous avenues for complaints, unlike the Bureau of Prisons which has a single streamlined process for complaints. Detained illegal and criminal immigrants can complain to three difference entities. With no protections against false accusations of abuse filed by detainees, and a process biased against ICE agents, the new detention standards could subject the agency and its employees to constant and frivolous lawsuits.
The House Judiciary Committee oversees the enforcement of our immigration laws. That’s why the Immigration Subcommittee yesterday held a hearing entitled, “Holiday on ICE: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s New Immigration Detention Standards.”
Alleged criminal immigrants and people who have broken our immigration laws should not be treated as taxpayer-supported guests. These individuals can avoid detention if they don’t come illegally in the first place, don’t commit crimes when they are here, and don’t fight efforts to remove them.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.