Operation Streamline

Operation Streamline, a policy begun in 2005, mandates that nearly all undocumented immigrants crossing the Southern border in certain areas be prosecuted through the federal criminal justice system, a departure from previous practices when most immigration cases were handled exclusively within the civil immigration system.

Operation Streamline has exposed undocumented border-crossers crossing to unprecedented rates of incarceration; overburdened the federal criminal justice system; and added enormous costs to the American taxpayer while providing a boon to the for-profit private prison industry.

Operation Streamline Days of Action, February 19th-21st

Communities across the country, including border communities, will be joining days of action from February 19th to February 21st to demand that comprehensive immigration reform ends, rather than expands, the criminalization of migration. Actions will include public protests, press conferences, op-eds (we'll provide talking points), and meeting with legislators.

Tucson, AZ - Tuesday, February 19th, 12:30pm MT.  Press conference announcing End Streamline campaign at downtown Federal Building downtown.  Contact: Caroline Isaacs - 520.623.9141, cisaacs@afsc.org; Sarah Launius (No More Deaths) - media@nomoredeaths.org.  Facebook page, press release.

Brownsville, TX - Tuesday, February 19th, 2pm CT. Press conference in front of the Reynaldo G. Garza-Filemon B. Vela Federal Court House.  Contact: Astrid Dominguez -  RGVBorderRights@gmail.com.  Press release.

Austin, TX - Wednesday, February 20th, 1pm CT – Press Conference and letter delivery to Texas Senators and Central Texas Congress members.  Federal building at 300 E. 8th St.  Contact – Bob Libal, (512) 971-0487.  Press release.

National - Thursday, February 21st, 1pm ET.  ACLU-led phone conference on Operation Streamline and southwest border enforcement. Speakers will also be briefing congressional staff on Operation Streamline during their visit to Washington, D.C.  Press release.

Online - The National Private Prison Divestment Campaign will be organizing a petition to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray and other members of the Congressional budget committees to shut down Operation Streamline by advocating for removal of funding for immigrant detention and incarceration in private prisons. 

 

Reports on Operation Streamline

Humpday Hall of Shame: Report exposes outrageous abuse and dangerous quotas inside prisons for migrants

Every year, the federal Bureau of Prisons subjects tens of thousands of immigrants to lengthy prison sentences simply for unlawfully crossing the border. A new report from the ACLU and ACLU of Texas exposes an outrageous level of abuse, neglect and discrimination in these "Criminal Alien Requirement" (CAR) Prisons. Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Report exposes outrageous abuse and dangerous quotas inside prisons for migrants

Felony prosecutions of migrants at the border are on the rise and Arizona is behind it

According to researchers at Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), the first six months of FY 2014 have seen substantial changes in the criminal enforcement of immigration laws among those districts along the border with Mexico.

There has been a drop in the number of criminal prosecutions for "illegal entry" under 8 USC 1325, but a continued rise in prosecutions for "illegal re-entry" (8 USC 1326). 

Crossing the border was once a matter for civil immigration courts but is now handled in federal criminal courts along the border. Under this program, known as Operation Streamline, people caught crossing the border are criminally charged with either unauthorized entry (a misdemeanor) or unauthorized re-entry (a felony). 

Read more about Felony prosecutions of migrants at the border are on the rise and Arizona is behind it

Victory - McAllen, TX City Commission Rejects Proposal to Build a New Private Prison!

 

Grassroots Leadership and our allies are celebrating today as the McAllen, TX City Commission has rejected for-profit prison company GEO Group’s proposal to build a new private prison for immigrants!  

In July, we caught wind that the city planned to seek a private contractor to build and operate a new 1,000-bed facility under their existing contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.  In doing so, the city would have not only contributed to the expansion of an industry that reaps billions from incarcerating human beings, but also the rising trend of profiteering from the criminalization of migrants under Operation Streamline.  

Read more about Victory - McAllen, TX City Commission Rejects Proposal to Build a New Private Prison!

Operation Streamline Days of Action get underway in Texas and Arizona

This week, groups around the country will be holding press conferences, letter deliveries, and other actions to call on Congress to end Operation Streamline and the criminalization of immigration.

Operation Streamline, a little-known border enforcement program, is part of broader trend funneling immigrants into the criminal justice system and charging them with felony or misdemeanor crimes for crossing the border.   Senate and House negotiators are reportedly considering expanding funding of Operation Streamline and criminal prosecutions of immigrants as part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill being negotiated in Congress.

“These prosecutions channel billions of dollars to private prison corporations and are fueling the explosive growth in numbers of Latinos in federal prison,” said Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership.  “It’s time that Congress moved to end Operation Streamline once and for all.” 

Read more about Operation Streamline Days of Action get underway in Texas and Arizona

Op. Streamline swells Latino representation in federal prison system

More Latinos are going to prison, and not because they are committing more crimes than they did in the past.

That’s the analysis behind an Associated Press (“More Hispanics go to federal prison,” June 4) article last month.  The reason appears to be precisely the subject of this blog: Operation Streamline is driving more Latino immigrants into the criminal justice system and ultimately into federal prisons: Read more about Op. Streamline swells Latino representation in federal prison system

Judge Bernardo P. Velasco criticizes Operation Streamline, calls policy “maddening” and ineffective

Last week, the National Catholic Reporter ran an insightful and critical article on the impact of Operation Streamline (“A ‘maddening’ system, from courtrooms to shelters,” July 1st) in Tuscon, Arizona.  The article starts with a typical description of the kind of “justice” provided under Streamline: Read more about Judge Bernardo P. Velasco criticizes Operation Streamline, calls policy “maddening” and ineffective

TRAC numbers confirm shift towards immigration prosecutions

A newly released report from TRAC shows what this blog has documented since its inception – a massive increase in the use of federal criminal prosecutions for border-crossers in districts along the border.  Previous to Operation Streamline, most border-crossers would have been deported, but not criminally prosecuted.

Now, we are seeing record prosecutions for immigration violations while national prosecutions of other felonies have actually declined.  According to the report from TRAC: Read more about TRAC numbers confirm shift towards immigration prosecutions

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