Best Salsa Club

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

Arts & Culture: San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and its history stretches long before the people behind the American or Texas Revolutions... By Mark Reagan 10/15/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Lamar Smith chimes in on immigration… again.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Low-risk, non-violent immigrants released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers?! Cue the outrage from Congressman Lamar Smith in 3, 2…

"Spending cuts are no excuse for releasing thousands of criminal and illegal immigrants into our streets," SA's GOP rep told the E-N last week. "The (Obama) administration is either incompetent and unable to prioritize spending, or reckless. Neither is acceptable."

News broke last week that ICE released "several hundred" low-risk detainees from its detention centers nationwide to brace for the federal spending cuts that kicked in Friday amid partisan gridlock. ICE says none of those released have been convicted of violent crimes.

Conservatives like Smith, rightly or wrongly, have claimed the Administration overhyped the consequences of so-called sequestration, issuing dire predictions when the cuts could be spread out in less damaging fashion. Ironically for Smith, though, ICE is cutting exactly where it makes most sense — releasing immigrant detainees that don't need to be incarcerated.

Over the past decade, money spent to jail immigrants has skyrocketed as the system grew from about 7,500 to 33,000 detention beds, costing taxpayers around $5.5 billion, even though cheaper options exist. Gary Mead, ICE's man in charge of arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants, told the Current last year that ICE spends, on average, $122 per day to detain someone while alternatives, like the agency's ankle bracelet monitoring program, top out at around $15 per day.

Still, immigration policy has focused almost solely on detention. ICE last year opened its Karnes County "civil detention" center, a multi-million dollar facility run by private prison company GEO Group specifically designed to house the lowest-risk detainees, like border crossers and asylum seekers who would pose little to no flight risk if put in less-costly monitoring programs.

Texas actually offers the feds another model for how to handle the immigrant detention system. In September, the Current wrote about how Scott Henson, the state's much-followed criminal justice guru who blogs at Grits For Breakfast, moderated a panel of experts and immigration reform advocates at Austin's LBJ school. The panel included former GOP state Rep. Jerry Madden, who prior to this session chaired the House Corrections Committee. Madden insisted the feds could save money following Texas' path: by limiting detention of low-risk, non-violent offenders.

Fiscal reality turned around Texas' incarceration rates, pushing state leaders to opt for "right-on-crime" strategies (like curbing probation time, funding alternatives like DWI and drug courts) instead of hemorrhaging a billion dollars to build more prisons.

ICE, until now, could spend as much as it wanted on immigrant detention. On his blog, Henson wrote that the sequester forces Congress to prioritize spending, proving there are cheaper options for keeping tabs on undocumented immigrants while they wait for the backlogged immigration courts to process their cases.

Smith may chide that the Obama Administration is "incompetent and unable to prioritize spending." But as Henson aptly put it, "prioritizing spending is precisely what's going on here … for once."

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus