The immigration reform bill introduced this week in the Senate would significantly expand immigration enforcement programs on the border and in the U.S. interior. But hidden deep in the bill are also provisions that could open detention center doors for some immigrants and provide greater protections for detainees.
Alternatives To Detention
The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to consider “alternatives” to detention for non-citizens facing deportation proceedings. Currently, many immigrants convicted of a long list of crimes as well as asylum seekers are subject to mandatory detention laws. Immigration authorities have generally considered this to mean these non-citizens must be locked up. The new provision clarifies that immigrants who fall under the mandatory categories can be released from prisons and placed in other supervised programs, including the use of tracking devices.