Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quarter of asylum seekers in Australia moved to communities

In other words they are not detained at all. They are home free

About a quarter of immigration detainees who have arrived by boat are now being housed in the community, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe has given an update on the figures at an inquiry hearing in Canberra. He told the Joint Select Committee that around 800 asylum seekers have been approved for community detention since August.

Mr Metcalfe says in the past month the detention population has steadily increased to more than 5,500 people. "The large numbers of arrivals continue to place strain on the detention network," he said.

"We all understand the potential consequences of a return to an overcrowded and pressured detention network and you can be assured that the Department is doing all we can to avoid that."

A boat carrying more than 160 asylum seekers was intercepted off Christmas Island on Tuesday.

Mr Metcalfe estimates it will cost close to $1 million to respond to the detention network inquiry. The inquiry started in June and is due to report back by March next year.

Mr Metcalfe says his Department has made detailed submissions to the inquiry. "We've responded either in hearings or on notice to over 1,100 questions from the Committee, provided over 4,000 pages of written material and some 26 departmental employees have been made available as witnesses," he said.

"The total direct cost to the Department responding to and supporting the Committee is projected to be in excess of $970,000 by the end of this financial year."


Report Challenges Attack on Secure Communities

Allegations of Wrongful Arrests of U.S. Citizens Are False

A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies examines the outcomes of ICE’s Secure Communities program and how those outcomes have been misleadingly described in one widely circulated study published by the Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley Law School. The CIS report, first in a three-part series examining the Warren Institute's analysis, is based on the same database used by the Institute of actual case histories provided by ICE in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The groups that first obtained the ICE records have claimed that they reveal a disturbing pattern of abuse of authority by ICE, including wrongful arrests of thousands of U.S. citizens, a pattern of racial profiling against Latinos, and denial of due process for aliens in removal proceedings. These allegations have been uncritically passed on by major news media outlets and repeated by members of Congress. While the ICE database does provide an interesting and relatively rare snapshot of the actual Secure Communities caseload, we found that the records did not support any of the allegations of ICE abuse of authority.

Our first set of findings, online here, addresses the issue of wrongful U.S. citizen arrests:

* The database contains no records of U.S. citizens who were detained by or for ICE. It is impossible to assert based on this data, as the critics have, that thousands of U.S. citizens, or any number of U.S. citizens, have been arrested by ICE through Secure Communities.

* The Warren Institute report contains serious methodological and interpretive errors that lead its authors to unsubstantiated conclusions and cast doubt on the credibility of the entire analysis. For example, the authors analyzed only 23 percent of the original random sample requested from ICE.

* ICE’s failure to counter the report’s misleading statements is contributing to the spread of misconceptions about Secure Communities among the media, state and local leaders, and the public. This raises doubts as to the agency leaders’ commitment to full and effective implementation of the program.

* We agree with the Warren Institute authors on the issue of the need for improved transparency at ICE and its parent Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contacts: Jessica Vaughan,, (508) 346-3380 or Bryan Griffith,, (202) 630-6533. The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

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