Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

More on immigration (and Journalism)

A question raised in one of our discussions: what is a good proposal for dealing with people crossing the border, if the current policy “sucks” (the technical legal term, I think)?

Here’s a possible answer:  There’s a Better, Cheaper Way to Handle Immigration  From the NY Times

Annoyingly, I wanted the answer and had to read through a  long recounting of why the current program is horrible. What do we do about it?  Some excerpts:

ICE has two programs that use electronic ankle monitors, biometric voice-recognition software, unannounced home visits, telephone reporting and global positioning technologies to track people who have been released from detention while their cases are being heard, at a cost of 30 cents to $8.04 per person per day. In 2013, 96 percent of those enrolled appeared for their final court hearings, and 80 percent of those who did not qualify for asylum complied with their removal orders.

Is the program still in use? Why rely on 2013 data? Is there no more current data. And so on.

The family case management program, a pilot started in January 2016, allowed families seeking asylum to be released together and monitored by caseworkers while their immigration court cases proceeded. Case managers provided asylum seekers with referrals for education, legal services and housing. They also helped sort out confusing orders about when to show up for immigration court and ICE check-ins. And they emphasized the importance of showing up to all court hearings, which can stretch over two or three years.

The pilot was implemented with around 700 families in five metropolitan areas, including New York and Los Angeles, and it was a huge success. About 99 percent of immigrants showed up for their hearings.

It also did something Republicans love: It cut government spending. The program cost $36 per day per family, compared with the more than $900 a day it costs to lock up an immigrant parent with two children, said Katharina Obser, a policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

I would want to confirm that $900 a day figure, but I would not be surprised if it was true. (Also not surprised if it was false. Sadly)

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