New Detention Centers More Humane for Non-Violent Immigrants
Apr 21, 2012
Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 20, 2012 – The United States is changing the way it detains immigrants who have overstayed their visas or come into the country illegally.
The new facility that opened in Karnes City, Texas in March is a significant departure from the old detention centers that were designed and guarded like federal prisons.
Civil liberties lawsuits spurred the U.S. government to change the way it treats and detains foreign nationals found on American soil illegally.
Few of the people detained in these facilities are there with a violent criminal history. In 2009, only about 11 percent of the detainees held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement had violent criminal pasts. Only about half of the detainees had a criminal past at all.
“There needs to be a tier of facilities so that violent criminals are kept in more secure detention centers and non-criminal detainees can be held in more humane ways,” said Texas immigration attorney Annie Banerjee. “Many of the people detained by immigration officials are in legal limbo because they may have overstayed their visa.”
The push to have different detainment environments for immigrants who pose a variety of threat levels has spurred the government to go easier on non-violent detainees. Centers built to hold illegal immigrants in California, New Jersey and Virginia are being retrofitted to match the one opening in Texas. In Florida and Illinois, detention centers are being built for medium and high-risk detainees.
The new center in Texas is starkly different because of its Internet access, private bathrooms, and a lights-out policy.
“People will always want to come to the United States,” said Banerjee, who works with foreign nationals to become citizens. “Putting non-violent, non-criminal immigrants in prisons is only going to turn them into criminals. This new philosophy of detention is an outward sign that our country has an evolving and developing immigration policy.”
Annie Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer specializing in helping people become United States citizens. The law offices assist in visas and other legal immigration requirements as well. To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.
Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139