House Republicans mock immigration detention as ‘holiday’

By David Edwards
Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:37 EDT
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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)
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Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday complained that immigrants were basically getting a posh “holiday” after the Obama administration issued new, more humane detention guidelines.

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Holiday on ICE,” chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) charged that “[t]he administration’s new detention manual reads more like a hospitality guideline for illegal immigrants.”

Earlier this month, federal officials unveiled a new model of detention facility for low-risk immigration violators in Texas — designed in every way not to resemble a jail, though it still is one.

The facility was launched as the United States is roiled by a major debate over immigration reform and after years of protests by human rights groups about the conditions in which illegal immigrants — including families with children — were being held.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report documenting at least 185 complaints of sexual abuse of detainees at U.S. detention centers since 2007.

In a statement to Raw Story, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said that she was “deeply disappointed” that her Republican colleagues had chosen to mock immigrant detentions as a “holiday.”

“But I would hope — at the very least — that we could agree that immigrants are people who deserve respect by virtue of our common humanity,” Lofgren added. “They deserve not to be raped. Not to be tortured, whether through physical or mental abuse or through gross medical neglect. They deserve not to be shackled when they give birth.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), however, told The Huffington Post that he stood by the facetious hearing title.

“I can’t think of a more descriptive name for the hearing,” King explained. “I thought it was right on point. … All they need to do to avoid that ‘holiday on ICE’ is put themselves back in the condition they were in before, which is go to their home country.”

Watch this video of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), uploaded March 28, 2012.

Watch this video of Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), uploaded March 28, 2012.

– with AFP

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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