5. Illegal Immigration / Detention Centers – Pre-2016
Did the illegal immigration problem begin during the Trump administration (2016-2020) ?
An account from 2014, USA Today -
1."Every night, there's about 300 to 400 kids that come in without parents. This is just in the lower Rio Grande Valley," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. “In 2012, border agents apprehended 13,625 unaccompanied children, and last year that number surged to more than 24,000 as children fled drug and gang violence in their home countries.”
2. “The Obama administration has promised to overhaul immigration detention. But a scathing report in the New York Times last weekend reveals that federal officials used their role as overseers to prevent media from reporting deaths and abuses inside the nation’s immigration prisons. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, now admits 107 immigrants’ deaths in ICE custody since October 2003, but for years the deaths went uncounted in the public record.” - Democracy Now
3.”Immigrant Detention Centers, Expensive and Inhumane” – 2012 – The Guardian
4.”Immigration Children – Conditions - LA Times, 2014
Is Trump The First to State the Problem and Propose Building a Wall ?
Clinton – Voted in 2006 for the Secure Fence Act, 700
miles of a two-layer fencing. She also advocated for “Smart Fencing” using
drones and other new technology. Supports Dream Act (Development,
Relief, and Education for Alien Minors).
The Weekly Standard, Nov. 10, 2015 - https://youtu.be/AlFi0QUboxs ( video Q&A at a televised campaign stop) “Well look," Clinton said, "I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders."
What is the Secure Fence Act ? Who sponsored it ?
The Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, authorized about 700 miles of fencing along certain stretches of land between the border of the United States and Mexico.
The act also authorized the use of more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to curb illegal immigration, and the use of advanced technology such as satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles.
At the time the act was being considered, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer were all members of the Senate. (Schumer of New York is now the Senate minority leader.)
Obama, Clinton, Schumer and 23 other Democratic senators voted in favor of the act when it passed in the Senate by a vote of 80 to 19.
Condition of Detention Centers, 2008 – 2016
Bill Clinton on Illegal Immigrants - Video, 2 minutes
Hillary Clinton on voting on building a Border Fence - Video, 2 minutes
Pres. Obama & Chuck Schumer on Border Security – 2017
and 2009 – Video, 2 minutes
New York Times Editorial
“Mr. Obama’s Dubious Detention Centers”, By The Editorial Board, July 18, 2016
– The Conditions of the Detention Centers ( 2008-2016)
“After Yanira Lopez and her three children -- two sons ages 14 and 17, and a 6-year-old daughter -- passed their interview, she was released from Karnes Family Residential Center in Texas. She went to live at Casa de Raices, a San Antonio refugee shelter for families released from detention.
“It's a dream come true, to be able to show the government that we are going to pay our bills and that we are good people, not delinquents.”
She was only supposed to stay in the house a few days, but she decided to stay there and help after seeing all the other mothers released from detention.
"The idea is for them to feel relaxed and to forget for a moment what they endured during their journey," Lopez says.
She described her own experience in detention centers as traumatic. She felt trapped, like a prisoner. She wanted be free and simply go to the park with her children or take a walk to the store. Lopez said she was verbally abused by detention center workers and health services were inadequate.
"We come here for help," she says, "and they treat you worse than an animal, worse than a criminal."
Lopez believes the stay in detention will have a lasting psychological effect on her children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, saying in a September report that detention centers "do not meet appropriate standards for the safety and well-being of children."
ICE contends the detention centers are safe. On its website, the agency includes a list of safety and health standards for family residential centers.
Today, there are three family detention centers in the US: The two facilities in Texas and the Berks County Detention Facility in Pennsylvania, which opened before the 2014 spike in family border crossings. ICE says it pays an average of $342.73 per day for each individual detained.
So far in 2016 there have been a total of 44,558 recorded bookings in family detention.
By Claudia Morales, CNN, Wed November 2, 2016
Carlos Holguin, of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, wrote this last year  about his trip to the Karnes center:
“We passed through one door, it closed behind us; we were then directed to display our visitor’s badges to a guard behind heavy glass; the second door was opened, we walked through, and we then reached the interior of the facility. The Karnes facility is constructed of concrete block. A staff member stated the facility had been designed to house adult male prisoners. . . . In the central open area I saw neither a direct view nor access to the outside: it was effectively surrounded by the high block walks of the facility itself, denying those inside any means of ingress or egress except via the secure entrance I earlier described. Facility staff stated that children detained at Karnes have never been permitted outside the facility to go to the park, library, museum, or other public places. Children attend school exclusively within the walls of the facility itself. Detainees, including children, are required to participate in a “census” or headcount three times daily.”
The average stay in a similar detention center in Dilley, Texas, was 22 days in 2015––though some have been kept a year. There, more than half of the migrants are children. Their average age is nine.
The Atlantic, J. Weston Phippen, May 6, 2016
Illegal Immigrants Deported – Obama Administration
A record number of people were "removed" from the U.S. during President Obama's tenure as President.
As of 2015, more than 2.5 million undocumented persons had been deported by immigration authorities since President Obama took office in 2009, a total which was statistically record-setting.
In 2013, there were 414,000 apprehensions at the southwest border, a rise of 27% over 2011. 2013 was also a record-setting year with 435,498 deportations.
Border Patrol’s budget has expanded from $5.9 billion 2003 to $11.9 billion in
2013, while ICE’s grew from $3.3 billion to
$5.9 billion. As of 2013, the two agencies had a total budget of nearly $18
billion, and that number increased to nearly $20 billion in 2016.
Note: In a status report last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing wall construction, reported that $11 billion has been identified since Trump took office to construct 576 miles of a new "border wall system." - NPR (National Public Radio) June, 2020.
Another factor for the increase in deportations during Obama’s terms comes from legislation that has become known as a “bed mandate” or “bed quota:”
The bed quota requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold an average of 34,000 individuals in detention on a daily basis. This quota has steadily increased since its establishment in 2009. No other law enforcement agency is subject to a statutory quota on the number of individuals to hold in detention.
The bed quota prevents ICE from exercising discretion and expanding more efficient alternatives to detention (ATD) that would allow individuals who pose no risk to public safety to be released back to their families while awaiting immigration court hearings.