CBP considers creating detention barges

When the Department of Homeland Security ends its catch and release policy toward non-Mexican illegal immigrants, and detains them all until deportation proceedings, where is it going to put the thousands — or even tens of thousands — of people? The whole catch and release policy came about because there simply isn’t enough jail space. Some bright bulb had the idea of stuffing them into old cruise ships.

Customs and Border Protection, the agency within DHS responsible for securing the border, is looking into a variety of methods to detain illegal immigrants, and one of the options on the table is to buy or lease old cruise ships from cruise line operators such as Carnival, a source within CBP told Government Executive.

Immigrants awaiting deportation proceedings would be housed at sea on cruise ships past their prime, which would have to be converted into floating jails, the source said. President Bush has called for 4,000 beds to be available by September 30.

CBP is considering the cruise ship idea because it considers the need to keep larger numbers of immigrants detained to be temporary and that the numbers will subside. But not everyone agrees with that assessment.

A second source familiar with CBP management issues, who does not work within the agency, noted that the cruise ship method could be used only in select areas. Furthermore, the need for more jail space for detainees will likely persist instead of subsiding, the source said, which will necessitate having more facilities built. — Government Executive

If the cruise ship thing doesn’t work out, there’s always that Halliburton contract to build temporary detention facilities. Halliburton doesn’t get paid unless the government actually places an order for one of these facilities. I’m quite surprised they haven’t done so already.

Under the catch-and-release policy, non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught by border authorities would be assigned a date for a deportation hearing and released. Few of them ever show up for those hearings.

One thought on “CBP considers creating detention barges

  • June 8, 2006 at 11:07 am

    You realize I already mentioned and linked to the Halliburton contract story, right?

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