Posted on September 18, 2019

Lawmakers Want California to Ignore Immigration Laws, as If It Were an Independent Nation

Tom Homan, Fox News, September 18, 2019


The California Legislature’s latest effort would eventually ban the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) from housing illegal immigrants in privately operated prisons in California.

Such a ban is a dangerous and harmful move that wouldn’t succeed in stopping the detention of illegal immigrants. It would simply raise detention costs for U.S. taxpayers and result in illegal immigrants being held under worse conditions. So instead of helping illegal immigrants – as California Democrats claim they want to do – their legislation would actually hurt the migrants.

The California State Assembly gave legislation imposing the ban on housing illegal immigrants in private prisons final legislative approval last week. It sent the measure to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has voiced support for phasing out the use of private prisons. He has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto the bill.

The legislation would bar the state from signing or renewing a contract with a private prison starting in 2020. In would also bar the state from housing any prisoner in a private for-profit detention facility starting in 2028.

To show you how blatantly partisan this legislation is, the California Legislature never took action to stop the detention of illegal immigrants in private prisons when Democratic President Barack Obama was in office. {snip}

In fact, in 2012 alone ICE arrested and removed 409,000 illegal immigrants from the U.S. – a record. And the Obama administration approved adding 3,000 family detention beds and the so- called “cages” to hold detainees.

Yet Democrats didn’t try to stop the Obama administration’s enforcement of our immigration laws. That’s because the Democrats aren’t really concerned with protecting illegal immigrants. Their real focus is scoring political points against Trump to prevent his reelection, as the Democratic Party moves ever leftward and embraces the radical concept of open borders that puts our national security at grave risk.


If I was still the ICE director and California shut down the detention of illegal immigrants in private prisons I would immediately move all detainees out of the state and detain them elsewhere. Unfortunately, this would move them away from their families and community support. It would also move them away from a very structured immigration advocacy and immigration attorney network.

Under federal law, 72 percent of current ICE detainees are held because Congress mandates it. {snip}

The other 28 percent of detains are being held because releasing them would threaten public safety or because they are flight risks.

So if California bars ICE from detaining illegal immigrants there, ICE will have no choice but to detain them in other states.

The illegal immigrants would most likely be housed in county jails in other states that have much lower detention standards than the contracted privately operated ICE detention facilities. {snip}

And it’s important to note that there are no ICE family detention facilities in California. So no children are being held.

The privately operated ICE detention facilities provide the highest level of safe, secure and humane quality care of any jails and prison in the U.S. – much higher than any local jail or state prison in California.


When I was the ICE director, I can tell you that some of our most expensive detained beds were in facilities that ICE owned. Using outside contractors that run detention facilities as their core business function not only saves millions dollars in taxpayer funds – it increases the quality of care that those being detained receive.


All detention facilities want to hold deaths to the lowest possible number, of course. But according to the Justice Department, in state prisons there is an average death rate 256 out of each 100,000 inmates. The death rate in federal prisons is 225 out of 100,000 inmates. But at ICE detention facilities, the death rate is less than three out of each 100,000 inmates – dramatically lower than any other jails and prisons.


In addition, almost 90 percent of illegal immigrants arrested by ICE in the interior of the U.S. are either convicted criminals or are being held on pending criminal charges the go beyond violating immigration laws.

If you simply look at the current recidivism rates, about half of criminals will re-offend within a year and as many as 75 percent will re-offend within five years.

This means that many of the illegal immigrants in ICE custody are in fact criminals and pose a danger to our communities if released.

As a result, the privately run detention facilities where ICE houses these detainees help to keep our communities safe and literally save lives. The bill passed by the California Legislature also bars the U.S. Marshals Service from detaining prisoners in privately run detention facilities in California. {snip}


It federal immigration laws become optional, then why not make all federal laws optional? This is a frightening concept that would make all laws meaningless and lead to chaos and anarchy. {snip}


Instead of attacking ICE and President Trump, the California Legislature and anyone else opposed to current immigration laws should ask Congress to change the laws. {snip}

But until the law changes, federal law enforcement agencies have to enforce the law.