Friday, June 17, 2011

Scary Bill

Rep Lamar Smith (R-TX) recently introduced one of the scarier pieces of legislation I've seen in a while. The "Keep Our Communities Safe" Act would give the US government authority to indefinitely detain "dangerous" immigrants who cannot be removed from the country. It would give DHS authority to detain immigrants for things as minor as passing a bad check, and mandate that DHS prosecute immigrants for crimes predating 1988 (so crimes that occured a quarter of a century ago). It also prevent immigrants from filing habeas corpus claims to challenge their incarceration.

Basically, it would install a dictatorial detention system for immigrants that gives our government authority to indefinitely detain people. I guess he thinks this is OK because the target of the legislation is people who aren't citizens, but this sort of practice tears at the moral and ethical fiber of our criminal justice system. We already lead the entire world in incarcerating people, by a wide margin, and our immigration detention system has grown exponentially over the past decade as irrational fear of immigrants has been stirred up by conservatives. Our immigration detention system went from holding around 3,000 people per day before 9/11 to nearly 40,000 on any given day after it; and now a very large percentage of detained immigrants are in the "care" of private prisons.

It has already been estimated that this bill could cost us as much as $45 million more per year to incarcerate all the individuals who would fall prey to this harsh and rigorous prosecution. So much for fiscal conservativism. It amazes me how Republicans continue to funnel money to huge corporations that don't need it while complaining that the poor are such a drain on society. I tend to think it's the giant multi-national corporations incarcerating an ever-increasing number of people and perpetrating at least 3 wars against nations that showed no agression toward us that are drains on society. Maybe I'm crazy.

No comments:

Post a Comment