Operation Streamline

Jul 14, 2016
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The Guardian

Prosecutions of illegal entry a driving force in mass incarceration in US – report

The Obama administration’s prosecution of immigrants who cross the border into the US is a driving force in mass incarceration, according to a new report.

Cases against immigrants for having illegally entered the country, known as illegal entry and re-entry, accounted for half of all criminal cases in the US federal court system last year, a report from Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership found. Non-citizens currently make up nearly a quarter of the total federal prison population, with Mexican nationals alone accounting for 15%.

Now several US judges who sentenced thousands of immigrants say the zero-tolerance policy for such cases they helped enforce was ineffective and should end.

“The only thing we have done is destroyed the lives of many people whose only crime is a desire to exercise their human rights to feed and care for themselves and their families,” said retired judge Felix Recio, who served as a federal magistrate from 1999 to 2013 in Brownsville, Texas, across the border from Matamoros, Mexico. [node:read-more:link]

The mass prosecution of migrants at the border, like mass incarceration, is an #Indefensible failure

Today, we published Indefensible: A decade of mass incarceration of migrants prosecuted for crossing the border with our partners at Justice Strategies.  

Read it online free now. 

Ten years ago, a new policy was named “Operation Streamline.” It is known for mass hearings in which up to 80 migrants are arraigned, found guilty, convicted and sentenced simultaneously for “improper entry,” a misdemeanor. The policy has long been decried by immigrant rights advocates. But the mass hearings, as shocking as they are, are only the tip of the iceberg. Lesser known is the widespread expansion of felony “re-entry” prosecutions and the mass incarceration of migrants that  that came with the Streamline program.

Indefensible is an in-depth investigation into the costs and failures of a decade-old bad idea that has wasted millions of dollars and inflicted an incalculable amount of human suffering. [node:read-more:link]

MEDIA TELECONFERENCE: New Book Examines the Impacts and Costs of a Decade of Mass Criminalization and Incarceration of Migrants Since Operation Streamline

“Indefensible: A Decade of Mass Incarceration of Migrants Prosecuted for Crossing the Border,” documents the history and failures of migrant criminalization through the voices of those most impacted—including migrants and their families; and those with a firsthand view into the system— including judges, defenders, and human rights advocates. In 2015, improper entry and re-entry accounted for nearly half (49%) of all federal prosecutions. [node:read-more:link]

Dec 16, 2015
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Free Speech Radio News

Ten years after launch of Operation Streamline, criminal immigration charges dominate federal caseloads

Today marks the 10 years since Operation Streamline took effect. The policy significantly increased the caseloads in criminal courts along the southern U.S. border by criminalizing what used to be a civil offense:  illegal re-entry into the United States. Operation Streamline started as a pilot program in the Del Rio sector of the Texas border, but later expanded to Yuma, Arizona; Laredo, Texas and eventually to all southern border sectors except those in California. To take a look at what the net effects of the policy have been a decade later, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership in Austin, Texas. [node:read-more:link]

Sep 16, 2015
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Hartford Courant

Interfaith Council, Nuns Urge Education, Action on Private Prisons

There have been 4,000 known deaths of migrants crossing the Mexico-U.S. border since 1995. Since 2001, there have been 2,100 deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border alone. That people still make the attempt is proof that they are desperate according to Sr. Yvette Rainville, DHS.

...

OS is a policy begun in 2005 that mandates thousands of undocumented immigrants crossing the Southern border be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system. Some feel that the policy has turned migrants into criminals, expanded the need for prisons to hold them, made a mockery of human rights, and created an unholy alliance between private prisons and the government.

...

The ICE detention budget includes a mandate from congress that 34,000 immigrants be detained on a daily basis. Private prisons own nine of 10 ICE detention centers, according to a report by the Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]

Jul 29, 2015
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Northern Voices Online

Immigration reform 2015: civil rights group ask DOJ to stop prosecuting immigrants

"Immigration reform issue seems to be becoming complicated with every passing day. President Barack Obama’s all efforts to provide succor to the twelve million such people has gone without making any meaningful change.

Now there are efforts to provide some sort of succor to such people, though there is no denying the fact that GOP will oppose any move in this direction tooth and nail.

While talking about the issue Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, says, 'There’s a conversation going on about how to reduce mass incarceration, but at the same time you have leaders talking about mandatory minimums for people coming back into the country for basically petty immigration offenses.'" [node:read-more:link]

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