Immigration is a hot topic in the news right now. Many people don’t realize that the issue of undocumented immigrants in this country isn’t as serious as what some are trying to make it seem. In fact, the number of undocumented is currently estimated to be the lowest it has been in 12 years. As of 2016, there are an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants, which is much lower than the 12.2 million estimated in 2007.
Immigration detention is one of the tools that the country is using to try to combat illegal immigration; however, the conditions in these facilities are being called into question. The media highlights some pretty troublesome methods related to this, including locking children in cages and having some people live in tent cities. Around 70 percent of people who are in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in this country are housed in for-profit, private prisons.
For the men and women who are in these “facilities,” life isn’t easy. Many don’t speak English and almost none are familiar with the laws in this country. One thing that many individuals don’t realize about many immigrants is that they don’t want to cause any trouble. They just want to find a way to live a better life.
Some people argue that detention centers are necessary, but there are alternatives that can be used instead. Community-based alternatives, such as being on a monitor and having to report in regularly, could enable some people who aren’t documented to remain free as they work to obtain a legal status. They all need to be made aware that they do have rights here, and that they might need legal representation to help them assert those.