US security advisors recommend moving away from private prisons for immigration detainees

US security advisors recommend moving away from private prisons for immigration detainees

[JURIST] The Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) on Thursday suggested to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson [official websites] that the government should move away from housing immigration detainees in private prisons. At the behest of Johnson, an HSAC subcommittee reviewed such use of prisons and developed a report [text] concluding that private prisons are the only realistic way to temporarily house those arrested on immigration-related charges. When the report was presented to the greater HSAC body, however, the group voted to dissent from the subcommittee’s finding, voting instead to encourage the gradual move away from private prisons. As moving away from private prisons is expected to be a slow process, Johnson is expected to use the report and dissent while working with the Trump administration on reform.

US immigration law [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be a controversial and heavily politicized area of law at both the state and federal levels. Earlier this week the Supreme Court heard argument [JURIST report] in , an immigration case that will determine the permissible length of detention before a bond hearing is necessary, if one is required at all. In October the Supreme Court denied a petition to rehear [JURIST report] , a case challenging the Obama administration’s policies supporting deferred action which would permit around 4 million immigrants to legally remain and continue working in the US. In September the Ninth Circuit ruled that children facing deportation proceedings may not file a class action suit [JURIST report] to determine whether they are entitled to an attorney as a due process right. In September 2015 the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report criticizing [JURIST report] the Obama administration’s immigration detention facilities, stating that some “are not fully complying with detention standards regarding medical care, legal information and other basic standards of treatment.” In August 2015 a California judge upheld her July decision [JURIST reports] and ordered the government to release immigrant children held in family detention centers, “without necessary delay.”

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