How Embarrassing Is This?
Immigration enforcement in the United States is plagued by unjust treatment of detainees, including inadequate access to lawyers and insufficient medical care, and by the excessive use of prison-style detention, the human rights arm of the Organization of American States said Thursday.
The group, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, issued those findings in a report that also took aim at a federal program that allows county and state law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration laws. The report said the government had failed to ensure that local police were not singling out people by race or detaining illegal immigrants on the pretext of investigating crimes.
The commission recommended that the federal government cancel the program, known as 287(g).
The Obama administration didn't have much to say about the report, declaring it needed to study it, but it did point to the "improvements" it has ordered in the detention system, including making the physical environment less penal in nature. Clearly the administration really does have to study the report because it obviously has overlooked one of the main points:
“The Inter-American Commission is convinced that in many if not the majority of cases, detention is a disproportionate measure and the alternatives to detention programs would be a more balanced means of serving the State’s legitimate interest in ensuring compliance with immigration laws,” the report said.
Detaining people who have done nothing wrong beyond entering the country illegally to find work, shutting them away from their families in underused jails and prisons, depriving them of decent medical care, and fencing them off from legal counsel: these are hardly the earmarks of a free and just democracy. Having this pointed out by an international group with international credibility has to leave a mark.