Monday, April 28, 2008

Alarms & Diversions: 'The Visitor' shines light on immigrants' American hell - San Jose Mercury News:

At an average cost of $95 for each day a detainee remains in custody, the Bush administration has made for-profit prisons one of the nation's most recession-proof industries. Last year, the publicly-traded Corrections Corporation of America - from which the Department of Homeland Security rents beds to detain immigrants like Tarek - reported a 23.3 percent increase in annual earnings.

This robust rise in profitability occurred despite the company's infamous stewardship of the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility in Texas, where children are locked up with their parents. At the Department of Homeland Security, they believe in family values, and try to keep the kids in adjoining cells whenever possible.

Tony Snow, who was the White House press secretary when this Norman Rockwell tableau was revealed last year, said that finding facilities for imprisoned immigrant families was difficult. "You have to do the best with what you've got," Snow said, sounding depressingly Rumsfeldian.

Then, in case anyone missed the connection between the immigration crackdown and the Iraq war that has propelled it, the administration canceled a tour of the Hutto facility by a U.N. inspector, sent there to see if the children's human rights were being violated. Apparently we are all about protecting the rights of U.N. inspectors, unless the inspecting they want to do is right under our noses.