Saturday, November 22, 2008

Essex County Detainee's Escape Leads To Detainee-Shifting

William Kleinknecht reported in The Star-Ledger on November 2, 2008 about 120 Detainees Moved To Essex County Jail.

Essex County wanted to house more detainees at $105 per detainee per day to obtain $5 million in annual payments from the federal government, a plan that was taken over the protests of the corrections officers union. At that payment rate, it would be 130 detainees held every day over a year to get $5 million in annual payments.

Detaining immigrants is a big-money project. People looking at the immigration area need to look very closely at how the big-money influence is affecting sound public policy. People are making lots of profit out of detaining more immigrants.

At Delaney Hall in Newark, the report is that a detainee escaped on October 25 and was found in Kentucky around 4 days later. County officials have moved 120 immigration detainees out of that facility and moved them to the Essex County Jail.

The issue also highlights how difficult it is for the immigrant detainees to defend their rights in immigration court. Right now, judges do not believe immigration detainees have any right to appointed counsel. It's hard enough to explain the complexities of immigration law -- imagine doing that if you are detained and somehow trying to gather all the proof required in your case. Now imagine that the authorities can move you anytime they feel like it (such as if some other detainee escapes) -- how is a detainee going to prepare a case and gather all the facts and witnesses without appointed counsel?


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