U.S. to Revamp Detention System?

Early last month (August 2009) the Obama administration released plans to revamp the current immigration detention system. Hoping to increase oversight, the plans give the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, a federal overseer to each of the 23 largest detention centers, setting up an oversight unit within the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.  The move comes after years of criticism by human rights groups who claim the system is in need of reform.  In a Washington Post article, Morton states, "We need a system that is open, transparent, and accountable... With these reforms, ICE will move away from our present decentralized jail approach to a system that is wholly designed for and based on civil detention needs and the needs of the people we detain."

Though applauded by many who have criticized the current detention system in the past, still many hope for further reform, claiming the proposed reform does not go far enough.  Detention Watch Network, a coalition of community, faith-based, immigrant and human rights service and advocacy organizations, of which Sojourners is also a part of, claims the overhaul falls short in its failure to address "the lack of alternative to detention and the lack of legally enforceable minimum standards for detention centers."

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