The hearing in front of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Policy and Enforcement was held to review ICE's standards, which grant health care services to detainees, expand protections against sexual assault, provide more hospitable living conditions and expand access to legal services.
The development of the new standards came after a series of investigations, complaints and reports that revealed abuses in the system ranging from rapes to preventable deaths.
From the beginning, the hearing was a political firestorm. Even the name of the hearing was a point of controversy.
"This hearing is entitled 'Holidays on ICE' because ICE has decided to upgrade accommodations for detained illegal and criminal immigrants," Smith said. "While we would all like to be upgraded, we don't have the luxury of billing American taxpayers or making federal law enforcement agents our concierge."
Smith said facilities designed to comply with new standards were too expensive and opulent, citing a new
ICE defends that detention programs like the one in
But Smith also voiced concerns over a new complaint system that allows detained immigrants to report mistreatment to various agencies, which Smith said makes ICE agents vulnerable to false accusations.
"He's been anti-immigrant from the first and he stays that way, but I think that this title might have been a new high on disgusting behavior," Lofgren says.
While Republicans and Democrats have long disagreed about immigration, experts say increasing partisanship in
"Immigration politics have gotten more polarized over time," says
Immigration rights activists says the hearing is an unsettling sign for the future of immigration legislation.
"I think it sort of speaks to the nature of our country and the nature of our
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Partisanship Bickering Hangs Over Immigration Hearing | Politics
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