The detainee buildup began in the mid 1990s, long before the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Since 2003, though, Congress has doubled to $1.7 billion the amount dedicated to imprisoning immigrants, as furor over "criminal aliens" intertwined with post-9/11 fears and anti-immigrant political rhetoric.
Michelle Roberts, Huffington Post
March 15, 2009
America's detention system for immigrants has mushroomed in the last decade, a costly building boom that was supposed to sweep up criminals and ensure that undocumented immigrants were quickly shown the door.
Instead, an Associated Press computer analysis of every person being held on a recent Sunday night shows that most did not have a criminal record and many were not about to leave the country _ voluntarily or via deportation.
An official Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed a U.S. detainee population of exactly 32,000 on the evening of Jan. 25. [...]
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