Humanitarian crisis at the border is a concern for states as much as feds

Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

State and local officials can and should play an important role in addressing the humanitarian crisis that is America’s treatment of immigrant detainees. So writes John Hudak of the Brookings Institution in an insightful paper that should be required reading for Nevada leaders at all levels. As Hudak points out, the zero-tolerance policy at the border has swamped federal facilities and forced the government to contract for space in state-regulated detention centers such as county and city jails or private prisons. For children who arrive unaccompanied at the border or are separated from their parents after arrests, similar arrangements have become necessary to house them in shelters. Hudak says those arrangements give state-level and local leadership an opportunity to ensure immigrant detainees are being treated humanely. He reasons that by inspecting the facilities, revealing any substandard conditions they might find and taking actions accordingly, non-federal officials can make a difference. “What states have the ability to do is three-fold,” he said during an interview this week while visiting UNLV. “One is to go to Congress and say, ‘This is what we’re finding and this is what needs to change.’ Two, they can go to the inspector general of (the Department of Homelan Security) and make these issues known. And third, they can work within their own state. If this is a state-run or state-regulated facility and conditions are substandard because of what is happening in those facilities, it’s incumbent on the state to exercise its regulatory power.” Hudak is a senior fellow for Brookings, a Washington-based progressive think-tank, where he focuses on governance studies and public management. He says that in examining how states and localities responded to the immigration crisis, he learned that many took a counterproductive approach in registering their opposition to the Trump administration’s harsh policies. “States’ responses so far have been sanctuary cities or refusal to accept detainees in state, local or private facilities,” he said. “That (refusal) is an effort to stop mistreatment within state borders, but what it actually does is transfer those individuals to other detention centers around the country. It’s likely overcrowding those detention centers.” Hudak contends the solution is to accept detainees and work diligently to provide them with the care that the federal government is denying them. It’s a growing need amid mounting reports of horrific conditions in federal facilities: children being kept in chain-link cages, detainees being denied such necessities as clean clothes and bathing facilities, overcrowding, etc. “The Department of Homeland Security itself is saying, ‘We’re doing a bad job, things need to change, conditions are substandard,’” Hudak said. In addition to inspections, Hudak also urges state and local leaders to allow media into facilities to report on conditions and interview detainees. “The more information that can get out there, the more I think people will appreciate and understand it’s a humanitarian crisis,” he said. Taking these actions would take guts, of course. It could reveal embarrassing problems that would require local tax dollars to fix. But Hudak argues — correctly — that it’s the responsible thing to do. “I think any elected official and any member of the public should hope that those facilities would provide at least a minimal standard of care for these individuals, whether they’re immigrants or individuals who have gone through the criminal justice system as American citizens,” he said. “It’s easy to write this off. It’s easy to say, ‘People made bad choices and now they’re facing bad conditions.’ But that’s a really cowardly approach to public policy, especially when you think about people who are fleeing political violence, women who are experiencing sexual violence and children who have no choice in the matter.” In Nevada, Immigration and Customs Enforcement lists three detention centers on its website — the Henderson Detention Center, the Washoe County Jail in Reno and the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump. We trust state and local officials are working to ensure conditions at those sites are humane, and in any other facility where immigrant detainees may be housed. We’d also encourage them to read Hudak’s report for ideas about how to further address the crisis. It can be found at tinyurl.com/hudak-report.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The Rebels are for real. With Wednesday’s convincing 76-66 win over Boise State, T.J. Otzelberger’s team has planted itself firmly in the “contenders” category when the Mountain West tournament opens next week. That’s how dominant the Rebels...

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

It’s becoming a running joke, but when a player makes his Golden Knights debut, the expectation is that he’s going to score. It’s happened six times this season and three times in a week, the latest coming courtesy of Nick Cousins on Wednesday. He...

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

UNLV is still riding high after a big win over previously undefeated San Diego State on Saturday, and the Rebels hope the momentum will carry over to tonight when they face off against Boise State in a key late-season Mountain West battle. Can UNLV...

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The NFL and its players have moved closer to a new collective bargaining agreement and the next decade of labor peace that would come with it. If the process is at first-and-goal now, though, there's still work to be done to get into the end zone. With a ...

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The last time the Golden Knights met the Edmonton Oilers, it was back in November. Vegas was having a putrid month and lost 4-2. Things have changed since then. The Golden Knights are riding a six-game winning streak, currently the NHL's longest, and...

Vegas Play of the Day: Virginia at Virginia Tech Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The sixth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now underway, effective July 1. Bankrolls start at $10,000 for each of the four participants, with the objective to increase it as much as possible over...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The Las Vegas Lights soccer franchise is always eager to try wacky promotions. They, after all, have llamas on the field for the pregame festivities. The Lights announced today that they will host a “Midnight Match” July 11 against Orange County FC,...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

With 18 games left in the regular season, the Vegas Golden Knights sit in better position than they have all year. Justin Emerson and Case Keefer come to a mutual agreement on that opinion on the latest Vegas Golden Podcast, presented by the Credit One...

Police: Man fatally shoots brother during argument Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A man fatally shot his brother during an argument Tuesday morning at an apartment complex in the west valley, according to Metro Police. The shooting was reported about 9:35 a.m. in the 9100 block of West Flamingo Road, near Fort Apache Road, police...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

In a future that isn’t that far off, Robin Lehner will be handed the reins of an NHL team and told to go. He’ll be the No. 1 guy, the unquestioned starting goalie.  He’s earned it after two seasons of splitting the net with Thomas Greiss and Corey ...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Here’s what you’ll find in this week’s episode of the Sun on the Strip: Recapping Sarah McLachlan's performance at Encore Theater and getting ready for this week's shows from Harry Connick Jr. Morrissey is coming to the Colosseum...

Control your own health care Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

It scares me, the number of people willing to give up their freedoms and put their fate in the hands of career politicians to exert more and more control over their lives. Some people who have no concept of how the real world works. Bernie Sanders has...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The big winners of last week’s Nevada caucuses were Sen. Bernie Sanders, Latino and younger voters, and Las Vegas. The biggest losers, besides the candidates not finishing with delegates, were caucuses as a voting system and centrist-Democratic...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Although the dust hasn’t completely settled from this year’s Nevada caucuses, the state emerged from the weekend having avoided the disastrous problems that played out in Iowa. Now, to ensure we never have to dodge a bullet like that again, we should ...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Durango High basketball coach Chad Beeten saw a play on game film that concerned him. He quickly asked for it to be replayed. The Trailblazers were preparing for today’s class 4A state quarterfinals against Reed of Northern Nevada, starting the process ...