All of this hair-on-fire Mexican bashing comes when immigration is at net-zero, maybe less, partially the result of America's shitty economy and also a consequence of Obama's border security. He's increased both the amount of funding and the number of patrols in the region, and the result is far fewer immigrants even attempting a crossing.
In pure numbers it is this: Where border agents made some 530,000 arrests in San Diego in fiscal year 1993, they had fewer than 30,000 in 2012.Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's quest to imprison as many aliens as possible was steered in part by the state's powerful private prison lobby, since the "papers please" law and other tough anti-immigrant policies bring more customers to their jails. Most stories about the Department of Homeland Security releasing inmates this week have overlooked the blow to the prison industry's bottom line. It costs, for instance, about $164 a day to incarcerate one immigrant. Multiply that by tens of thousands. Day after day.
The industry has tremendous clout here. Two of Brewer's key aides were former lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America, which donated handsomely to the ALEC darlings in the legislature who crafted and supported SB 1070. Elsewhere, when an annual study revealed that Arizona's private prisons are more costly and less effectual than the public variety, the industry's GOP bootlickers simply introduced a bill to eliminate the annual study. It passed, problem solved. Now prisons may lose more clients if DHS continues to release immigrant inmates, and we can't have that!
Follow me below the fold to see what's really appalling about all this.
Roost meet chickens
Jan Brewer's been an esteemed member of the Crazy Republican Governors Club—joining lugheads like Scott Walker, Sam Brownback and Rick Scott who've embraced the tea party's "cut the deficit" gibberish, seemingly unaware of the effects in their state. Now Brewer and her looney tunes ideologues are getting a taste of Norquist's bathtub politics. She's finding out what GOP obstructionism is going to cost Arizona, and it began this week with her state's former governor, Janet Napolitano, releasing immigrants.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she's appalled to hear that the Department of Homeland Security has begun releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants from custody. It's the first of potentially thousands of immigrants to soon be freed before mandatory federal budget cuts go into effect.The reality chicken has come home to roost in the guise of nearly 31,000 immigrants held in jails nationwide. That's an expensive undertaking, and the sequester will wallop DHS upside the head, necessitating huge cuts. Rather than $164 a day to incarcerate one inmate, the "supervised release" planned for prisoners who pose no serious threat costs less than $14 per day—a blow to prison profits, even if only some inmates are held in private facilities.
Gillian Christensen, an [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] spokeswoman, said ICE has reviewed "several hundred cases" of immigrants being held in jails around the country and released them in the last week. They have been "placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release," she said.Gov. Brewer is not the only Republican pissing into the windy consequences of her party's boneheadedness. Others have accused President Obama of using the immigrant release as a scare tactic and political ploy—their thinking [sic] being, I guess, that the president believes Mexican hating just might bring Republicans together and end this nonsense. Others, like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), said the prisoner release will threaten safety and congressional momentum toward immigration reform:
"By releasing criminal immigrants onto the streets, the Administration is needlessly endangering American lives. It also undermines our efforts to come together with the Administration and reform our nation's immigration laws."When did you "come together" with the administration about anything? Hell, you'll filibuster your own bill if Obama supports it.
HEY DICKHEADS! You say you don't want scary brown people living in less secure facilities? You say you wanna lock 'em up good and tight? You say you don't want your sugar daddy prisons to lose revenue? Well, some of us want to save Head Start, college loans, meals for seniors, teachers' jobs, public health assistance, child care and about 750,000 jobs. But if the feather that tickles your nutsack is locking up immigrants, go for it.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has a bill waiting in the House that'll end this manufactured bullshit by closing loopholes that Republicans once said they wanted closed. Remember Mitt Romney? Hollen's is a "balanced" approach—you know, the one most Americans favor. Gov. Brewer, you have the phone number of the four Arizona GOP congressmen. You don't even have to call the five Dems! Quit bellyaching about what DHS is forced to do and pick up the damn phone! Wag your finger in someone else's face! And you're welcome to pass on my advice to other members of the Crazy Republican Governors Club.