Smith wants detention center reform

Immigration ReformRepresentative Adam Smith last week introduced the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act of 2015 bill in a bid to try to reform the current immigration detention system. Smith was supported in his aims by representatives Rick Larsen, Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene and others.

Smith has called for new standards and oversight in the wake of disturbing conditions being revealed at detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Tacoma. Among Smith’s recommendations are creating requirements for adequate nutrition, prompt medical treatment and limits on solitary confinement. Partisanship, prejudice and pressure from the firms that run detention centers have resulted in over 400,000 immigrants being locked in ICE’s biggest US detention center despite most being no threat to society, according to a report from The Center for Migration Studies and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was released last month.

“For those without criminal histories, detention can be a dispiriting, even crushing response from a nation which they will soon join, rejoin or be forced to leave, and from which they had hoped far better and more,” the report notes.

The White House has been pursuing immigration reform for the last six years and last week Immigration and Customs Enforcement pledged to give more oversight to and improve conditions in family detention centers; however, Smith wants to see more immigrants diverted from detention centers and placed in community supervision programs until a resolution to their cases has been reached.