Thursday, July 21, 2011

California's first immigration detention visitation program approved

The West County Detention Facility (WCDF) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),  approved this month a new immigration detention visitation program,  an activist group announced. The visitation program will operate as an official service to detainees at WCDF, a program-oriented facility in Richmond, California. 

Detention Dialogues, a student-led group dedicated to building a culture of respect to address the growth in immigration detention, today announced the approval of this, the first immigration detention visitation program in California. The group worked for nearly 12 months to initiate the program.

In 2010, close to 400,000 persons were held in county jails and detention centers for violating a civil (not criminal) immigration law. The detention of immigrants costs taxpayers approximately $45,000 per detainee per year. This comprises a total of $1.8 billion in this fiscal year. For the coming 2012 fiscal year budget, $157.7 million is requested.

Detained immigrants include both individuals and families, including young children. Many are asylum seekers and can languish in detention for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Whatever their circumstances may be, individuals in detention have limited access to the outside world.

“Our mission is to connect immigrants in detention to the outside world through visitation, while stimulating public awareness and meaningful dialogue about immigration detention,” said Christina Fialho, co-founder of Detention Dialogues.

While no contact visits are allowed, Detention Dialogues visitors will be able to meet with detainees on any day of the week from behind windows in a large visitation room. Additionally, detainees will be able to call Detention Dialogues at no cost using a three-digit extension provided to Detention Dialogues through the ICE detainee pro bono telephone system.

“We hope our work will inspire dialogue on our responsibility as Americans to engage with the issue of immigration detention,” said Christina Mansfield, Detention Dialogues’ other co-founder. “Our goal is to enable all motivated actors—including government, community members, nonprofits, academia, business, and philanthropy—to leverage their own distinctive roles to address the growth in immigration detention.”

WCDF is located in the Point Pinole area of Contra Costa County. The facility itself is a large coeducational adult medium-security prison, approximately 25 miles from San Francisco. Detainees are required to schedule their own visits, and scheduled visitors are welcome during the week and on weekends.

To become a visitor volunteer, interested participants must attend two trainings, one with Detention Dialogues and the other with WCDF staff. The next training set will be in August, and Detention Dialogues will accept only a limited number of volunteers. The group provides further information to potential volunteers on their website.


Ranch Chimp said...

Greeting's Billie ... and Thanx for the update on this, cause I havent heard a bloody thing on it. I seen you over at American Patriot, checked out your profile, seen your in El Paso, and figured to see what you had posted. I take it, you have an understanding of the prison/ detention racket too ... big business here in USA actually ... I have a series called "Incarcerated American" where I point out a few item's on how thing's work. Your in the trenches, eh? I live in Dallas (passed thru EP as well driving back/ forth to LA, where I lived too) but been to EP many time's, have a good buddy there actually. I know the border (TexMex) and the reality, known alot of folk's from the other side, and spent alot of time on the other side too. But all immigrant's get the shaft, alwayz been that way and progress is too slow and too low. Anywayz ... I did like your posting of course ... you got to do what's in your heart, make's life more gratifying.

Later Billie ....

RealityZone said...

Sorry off topic.
But this is a must read for you and your readers.

Vicente Duque said...

40 pages, Legal Scholars : Immigration State Laws of Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, etc, are unconstitutional. State enforcement would be unconstitutional even if it were explicitly authorized by Congress. U. S. Congress cannot remove constitutional powers from President and share with non-Executive branch officials

Social Science Research Network
Duke Law Journal, Forthcoming
The Unconstitutionality of State Regulation of Immigration through Criminal Law
Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 10-25

Gabriel J. Chin
University of California, Davis, School of Law

Marc L. Miller
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

The “mirror image” theory of cooperative state enforcement of federal immigration law is a phenomenon, one of the most wildly successful legal movements and ideas in decades. The mirror-image theory proposes that states can enact and enforce criminal immigration laws based on federal statutes. The theory that it is unobjectionable for a state to carry out federal policy is the basis of Arizona’s SB1070, similar immigration laws already in force in seven states, and copycat bills pending in dozens more. The mirror-image theory has succeeded not only in legislatures, but also as an idea in the larger political culture: it has been embraced by dozens of U.S. Senators and Representatives, by policy groups, private citizens, and commentators including George Will, Sarah Palin, and the editors of the New York Post and Washington Times.

The mirror image theory is indeed appealing. But it is also fundamentally flawed. This article, the first to subject the mirror image theory to sustained scholarly scrutiny, demonstrates that the mirror image theory fails to identify a legitimate source of state power to legislate on immigration matters.

No one denies that Congress and the Federal executive have exclusive authority over the substance and procedure of admission, exclusion and removal of non-citizens, documented and undocumented. To the extent there has ever been any question, this proposition was firmly established by a pair of Supreme Court decisions from 1876. The mirror image theory does not challenge this deep-rooted idea head-on, but instead proposes that state legislative authority over immigration flows from cases and provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizing states to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. However, those authorities contemplated state assistance with enforcement only through arrests. Arrest authority does not imply the power to legislate or prosecute. To the contrary, other provisions of the INA make clear that federal agencies have exclusive power to make prosecutorial and administrative decisions after arrest, and to create supplementary regulations.

The mirror image theory rests on the erroneous premise that Congress has implicitly authorized state enforcement of federal immigration law. This article argues that state enforcement would be unconstitutional even if it were explicitly authorized by Congress. First, the federal immigration power is exclusive and non-delegable. Second, criminal prosecution and immigration enforcement is an executive power which Congress cannot remove from the President and share with non-Executive branch officials. Finally, the Supreme Court has held that states cannot prosecute crimes which affect only the sovereign interests of the United States. Accordingly, state immigration prosecutions are irremediably unconstitutional.