Biden administration to shorten detention of migrant families, close long-term facilities

The Biden administration filed documents Friday in the U.S. district court in Los Angeles to end long-term detention of families. It plans to close three facilities that ICE oversees. Two detention centers are in Texas, operated by for-profit companies, and one center is run by officials in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

These three facilities have a total of more than 3,300 beds for parents and children. The move may be a temporary one which has supporters concerned that once closed, they will reopen. That is a legitimate concern because the number of beds needed to detain migrants illegally crossing the border and showing up to claim asylum is rapidly increasing. The crisis on the border is only beginning. It is reported that the administration needs another 20,000 beds at migrant facilities to deal with a surge of unaccompanied minors.

In the documents filed Friday, ICE says it will convert the Pennsylvania facility into an adult-only facility. The Texas facilities in Dilley and Karnes City will become short-term processing facilities. Migrant families will only be held for less than three days. This is a further extension of Biden’s catch and release policy. The families will be released after three days to travel further into the United States. There are few families left in detention centers and legal services providers have not been told what exactly is going on.

The legal services providers who represent migrant parents and children detained at these facilities said all their clients were released in recent days, but the groups had yet to receive any guidance on why that occurred.

On Friday, ICE said only 13 families remained in detention as of earlier this week, noting that all were slated to be released by Sunday, as long as they tested negative for the coronavirus.

“ICE would like to note that it is revising its current family detention posture at the (family detention facilities) to allow for a broader repurposing of the physical facilities to better meet operational needs,” the agency said in its court filing.

It’s what is being called ‘rebranding’ by Team Biden. If it sounds better, a detention facility surely couldn’t be a hard reality, could it? This is what Jill Biden does when Joe doesn’t make illegal migrant detention sound warm and fuzzy enough – she puts on her sincerely concerned face for the camera and says they aren’t children in cages, they are children in holding facilities, or something she thinks cushions the truth. There is little that can be done to hold and manage the flow of illegal migrants crossing the border. The options are to either put them in detention centers until their cases are heard by immigration judges, immediately return them back across the border or simply take their information and release them on their merry way with hopes they’ll show up later for their court date. This is why Trump made the agreements with Mexico and Central American countries. In order to manage the thousands of people crossing the border, he worked with the countries from which they came and this had never been done by past presidents. The new policies were working but Open Borders Joe is hellbent to do away with anything Trump did and now has a real mess on his hands. A mess of his own making.

Supporters of open borders want closures to be permanent and for Biden to stop using Title 42, which Trump used. This allows immediate expulsion of migrants due to a public health risk, in this case, the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, an immigration attorney at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, the main legal services provider for families detained at the Karnes City facility, expressed concern that the Biden administration’s plans may not prove durable.

“The changes at the Karnes and Dilley family prisons are at best, reversible operational changes that reduce the harm of long-term detention, and at worst, a temporary move to quell concern about this controversial immigration policy that will be undone with anti-immigrant political pressure,” Meza told CBS News, referring to family detention.

Meza also criticized the U.S. government for continuing to use a public health authority invoked by the Trump administration last spring to rapidly expel most migrant adults and families to Mexico or their home countries without affording them an opportunity to seek humanitarian refuge.

It should be noted that the two Texas facilities that the Biden administration now wants to close were opened during the Obama administration in 2014 when it needed to manage waves of Central American families migrating to the southern border. That is when the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement came into consideration. The government is required to work toward the release of minor children. They are entitled to the same legal safeguards as their parents and other adults.

Sleepy Joe is in a state of denial about his campaign promises of no more deportations, mass amnesty for all illegal immigrants, and ramping up the catch and release policy encouraged Mexicans and Central Americans to rush the border in hopes of a life in the U.S. He is only now sending a team to the border to gather information about the crisis. His answer to a question on the crisis at the border was to deny it and say, “No — we will be able to handle it, God willing.” “God willing” isn’t a policy.