Crossing the border was once a matter for civil immigration courts. Now, every day in federal criminal courts along the Southwest border, hundreds of mostly destitute Latino and indigenous Latin American migrants are shackled, charged, convicted and sentenced en masse under the policy called “Operation Streamline.” The program has proven to be a boon for private prisons by funneling tens of thousands of immigrants into federal prisons every year. Through research and advocacy, Grassroots Leadership is fighting for and end to this program.
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reports immigration case backlogs reached a record 247,922 by mid-June of this year (“Immigration Case Backlog Continues to Grow”, TRAC 2010). The report also shows that these cases wait in the Immigration Courts of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) for an average of 459 days. Read more about TRAC Collects Data on Immigration Case Backlogs and Wait Times
Last week, the the GOP announced it’s “Pledge for America” – a campaign tool meant to hark back to the 1994 Contract for America that lead to sweeping Republican mid-term election gains.
The Washington Independent (Elise Foley, “‘Pledge to America’ Plans for Immigration” September 23, 2010) has an interesting look at what the some of the immigration implications of the “Pledge” may be, including how it could affect Operation Streamline: Read more about Does GOP’s “pledge” include Operation Streamline funding?
While we’d speculated that additional funds allocated in the $600 million border security bill passed last month may fund an expansion to Operation Streamline, I hadn’t seen it explicitly laid out by the administration. But, buried in an article (“Arizona National Guard soldiers Read more about Napalitano: $600 million border security bill will fund Streamline expansion
A new report by the El Paso-based youth development organization Community Scholars shows that federal judges in El Paso are overwhelmed by cases related to Operation Streamline and a glut of vacancies of the federal bench. According to the KFOX report (“West Texas Federal Judges Flooded With Cases,” August 30):
Read more about Op. Streamline overwhelms federal courts in El Paso, doesn’t deter migration>
Some new statistics KFOX has obtained said the federal court system in West Texas had more cases per judge than any other part of the Lone Star State.
Arizona doesn’t need SB 1070, its state-level controversial immigration enforcement measure, to lead the way in criminal prosecutions for immigration violations. Read more about Arizona leads the way in federal prosecutions; Numbers driven by immigration prosecutions
Despite last week’s $600 million border security bill which funds more border patrol agents and federal prisons, several Republican Senators have criticized the measure saying that it doesn’t go far enough to fund Operation Streamline, amongst other hawkish measures.
While the bill doesn’t explicitly fund Operation Streamline, there does appear to be Streamline-related funding tucked into the bill. According to a US News and World Report (Senate Passes $600 Million Border Security Package, August 12) story,
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Claire McCaskill, will deploy 1,500 enforcement personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border and fund increased intelligence and unmanned surveillance vehicles, or drones, along the border. The measure will give $196 million to the Department of Justice to pay for U.S. attorneys, legal expenses, and a federal prison system for illegal immigrant felons, among other security measures. Read more about Republican Senators push Op. Streamline as Border Security bill appears to contain Streamline support funding