The ‘Bed Mandate’
Let’s talk about immigration, no, let’s talk about inmate costs, well, both of them, and throw in a sample of how crappy unintended deliberately misinterpreted and probably profitable laws are crafted in the hallowed halls of Congress.
My last post was, sort of, about White House fibbing; largely the prevarications of the immigration policy it’s forwarding, with a dash of their fictitious healthcare policy advertising tossed in for spice. My head was kind of in the Immigration game, and it’s my amateur opinion we ought not hand out citizenship to 11 million people based merely on the qualification they could sneak in without being caught. I don’t want to hear how I’m a racist and hate immigrants. I’m only 2nd generation American myself. My great grandparents, documentably, could neither read nor write in English. When I’m in a lighter mood maybe I’ll do a post about how great I think a nation of immigrants really is (note to self…)
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions issued a critical alert yesterday questioning the legitimacy of the claim that Barack Obama is now “Deporter in Chief of the United States”. Sessions points out that what we used to consider deportation, which was catching them in the heartland and removing them, is now what we call catching them at the border. Border enforcement isn’t deportation, unless you work for the same administration that pretends our unemployment rate is 6.7% these days. I was glad to hear we were catching them at the border. Not real happy deportations from the interior are down. And definitely not happy that the numbers are being used to mislead. I wandered down that path a little but was having a hard time getting really exercised there. When you get lied to nationally on a daily basis by half a dozen official government agencies, it loses it’s anger generating potential after a bit.
Not that I didn’t try. That was when I ran across a mention of immigrant inmates in privately run prisons going on a hunger strike. So I checked that out. During that zig off the path I ran across this thing called ‘the bed mandate’.
The bed mandate deals with incarceration of potential deportees, be they illegal immigrants or now undesirable legal immigrants. If you’re curious, you can do a search on ‘the bed mandate’ but I included some links below. Here’s a nifty link to a Bloomberg article on it that mostly does it justice.
According to a lot of folks, the ‘bed mandate’ requires our various rounding up agencies, ICE, Border Patrol, etc under DHS (we have waaaaaay too many agencies that are responsible for rounding up people in my opinion) to lock up 34,000 illegal immigrants a day.
Remember now it’s called the bed mandate, not immigrant detention mandate.
Like a cop ticket quota (but which they swear is NOT a quota), they’ve decided they have to have some fixed number of PEOPLE in jail for immigration reasons every day, 365 days a year, every year since 2009 when Robert Byrd, sainted Democrat and former KKK grand wah-zoo, added the ‘mandate’ to the Federal budget (which doesn’t exist, but let that slide, after all, we’ve let it slide for 6 years and counting…). Out of partisan waspishness I remind that when statesman Bob “Klansman of the Senate” Byrd added it the Democrats owned the Senate and the House, and the White House. Damn those evil immigrant hating Republicans and their colored folk hating laws!
Before anyone starts doing three cheers and a tiger for the GOP recognize they’ve allowed it to continue,
I’m not going to bore you with the statistics on prison populations, or cost per inmate per day in private prisons versus cost per day in Federal, State, local government prisons and holding facilities. It’s a lot of samolians, let’s just say that. We can assume it’s profitable or private corporations wouldn’t do it (except in Moonponeia where companies don’t worry about making profits 🙄 ).
Most of the articles I read say this year we’re mandated to keep 34,000 people locked up every day. Again and again and again, (I could go many more agains) they insist we must incarcerate 34,000 people, specifically illegal immigrants to fill a bed, every day. The Bloomberg article points out that Texas Republican Congresscritter Michael McCaudoes insists that not doing so is a violation of the statute. Then again ICE seems to think that’s what it means also, so maybe that’s why all the various and sundry aforementioned do too.
We go out and hunt people down, illegal aliens, to fill the 34,000 beds a day? I mean, something that, I don’t know, ridiculous Soviet factory quota Stalinesque, must be a statute of a least a couple of paragraphs full of ‘heretofores’ and ‘with respect to’s’ and ‘as governed bys’. There must be stipulations or guideline or …you see where I’m going don’t you, you perceptive devils.
I got crazy and looked at the budget (hah, reconcilitation) for this year.
It’s not a section, or paragraph, hell, it’s barely it’s own sentence. As tortuous as these bills are, and this is the usual, the ‘mandate’ is a ‘furthermored’ chunk of a run on sentence that even I wouldn’t write. It’s about 20 words, if you count a date as one word.
It says “That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime by the severity of that crime: Provided further, That funding made available under this heading shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014:…“
BEDS? Not raids and roundups? Beds. That must be why it’s called the bed mandate.
There must be a disconnect here. I don’t see where it says I have to have a person IN the bed or even in the room where the bed is, or even in the building where the room where the bed is. I see budgeting for minimum capacity sheltering. My inexpert reading says I have to have accommodations (a bed) for no less than 34,000 immigrants in detention on any given day. It does NOT say I MUST arrest 34,000 immigrants and lock them up. I’m not a genius or hot doggin government cool guy, so I could be wrong but this doesn’t mention being required to arrest people to fill (n) number of beds.
How ICE gets “you must arrest and detain (n) immigrants” out of that is curious. But I personally think the senior agency people say that to try and convince us we need to cut their funding because they’re big meanies. Head of ICE won’t lose their job, right? Someone has to do the harrumphing and phoney baloney work because I doubt this President appoints anyone to head ICE who is really extra primo keen on enforcing immigration law. That ain’t how this administration rolls.
Yes Franz Kafka would recognize this one. You just know they’ve striven mightily to go to the effort of rounding up the bed minimum number of immigrants a day and locking them up, or keeping them locked up to ensure capacity usage. The average stay turns out to be between 26 to 29 days a month. The system has managed to keep suspiciously close to whatever number the budget specifies for whatever budgetary year after 2009. People, admittedly illegal aliens, locked up, every day, for the last few years to meet a quota. And when they caught more than the minimum allowed, being part of the executive branch and trying to let us know how awful it was that someone would hold the President to HIS plan they let some go to punish us for the sequester, remember?
Is it about enforcing immigration law or meeting a quota? I’d be happier if I thought it was enforcing the law, but I don’t believe that. I’ll let you figure out what happens if they accidentally catch more a day on a regular basis than they can hold.
Now somewhere there are rules and laws on minimum prisoner facility requirements. Housing, feeding, medical care, security requirements. Some government accountant can probably be made to convince us that it costs as much to have the bed as it does to keep someone IN the bed, and watch them, and feed them. I don’t know if they give them a nice orange jumpsuit to wear for a month or so. But those laws, rules, whatever, weren’t considered when an old coot added 20 words to a budget item without any thought to the actual cost. I don’t know if he helped ICE misinterpret them once they were approved.
A few hopeful lights suggested that isn’t what that sentence should mean. and that including a quota like minimum number reduces ICE’s flexibility in dealing with immigrant incarceration and handling and in the end costs more than we might otherwise have to spend. But Congress and the Executive branch, they’re still arguing over how many people they’re going to lock up, not if that’s what those 20 words actually mean or even if those words should really be there.