By Gregory Chen, director of advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association
02/29/12 02:12 PM ET
On February 28, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued a statement criticizing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for releasing new national standards for immigration detention facilities. Entitled, “Deportation Manual: a Hospitality Guideline for Illegal Immigrants,” his statement makes imprisonment sound like a hotel visit. In so doing, Mr. Smith belittles the fact that each year 400,000 people — including thousands of asylum seekers, trafficking victims, families with children, the elderly and the sick — are jailed while they await civil immigration court proceedings in facilities that bear no resemblance even to the cheapest motel.
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