Washington, D.C. - Members of the House subcommittee on immigration held a hearing Wednesday to argue that the new immigrant detention center rules and policies are too generous.
The hearing was entitled “Holidays on ICE,” with lawmakers criticizing the reforms enacted by President Obama which entitled detainees to medical treatment, new protections, and luxuries such as internet access, cable TV along with physical activities like volleyball.
Undocumented immigrants are typically held in detention centers while they and their immigration attorneys await a decision on their deportation case. Oftentimes they are housed in the general population of prisons and are subjected to sexual and physical abuse.
Republican lawmakers assert that immigration detainees have acted criminally and don’t necessarily deserve to be housed in centers they describe as resorts. But not all detainees are criminals.
People coming to the U.S., seeking asylum with the help of an immigration attorney, are also held in the same facilities as people who have committed a crime.
ICE made changes after coming under fire from activist groups after news reports and internal investigations revealed that immigration detainees were housed in prisons, subjected to abuses and inadequate medical care.
Lawmakers also pointed out that detaining illegal immigrants is costly, but none of them would approve of other alternatives to detention such as ankle bracelet monitoring.
The numerous challenges that an undocumented individual faces can be eliminated once they seek out an immigration lawyer to get them the necessary visas or citizenship.