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.
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 [node:read-more:link]
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):
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.
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. [node:read-more:link]
Report Stresses Impact of Streamline on Immigrants, Detention System in Texas; Calls for Repeal of Controversial Program
For Immediate Release: July 19, 2010
Contact: Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership, (512) 971-0487, firstname.lastname@example.org [node:read-more:link]
The following is the executive summary to Grassroots Leadership’s “green paper” Operation Streamline: Drowning Justice and Draining Dollars along the Rio Grande. The full report is available at www.grassrootsleadership.org. This is a green paper, meaning that we invite feedback, criticism, and suggestions. [node:read-more:link]