‘Emergency’ demand for $3.7 billion to build detention & processing facilities for refugees
President Obama has officially asked for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to handle the tens of thousands of Central American children who’ve showed up unaccompanied at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking entry and support.
According to the Washington Post, “Administration officials said the request is part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at building more detention centers, adding immigration judges, and beefing up border patrols and air surveillance.” Detention facilities would be set-up in border areas, where temporary facilities are now being controversially used to house immigrants.
Critics have blasted the president’s request for focusing little on controlling the border and, instead, spending the bulk of the money on new Homeland Security facilities, as well as administration money to the Dept. of Human Health Services and other agencies to care for the refugee minors. While the White House insists these children will likely not be allowed to stay, there is little reason to think they will be sent home anytime soon – and the detention centers would suggest long-term plans to house mass numbers of refugees.
Obama’s plan – ostensibly to support migrant Central American children – expands upon previous upgrades to federal government emergency powers.
Like the top secret Continuity of Government (COG) program created under Rex 84, it calls for building hundreds of internment camps to house people during an emergency influx of illegal immigrants/refugees from Mexico and Central America.
However, the facilities are also designated to house Americans during other national emergencies including natural disasters (such as those due to extreme weather), financial crises, nuclear war, civil unrest and outright insurrection/civil war. During such emergencies, the federal government has mapped out authorization to suspend the Constitution – implementing a National Security continuity of government power structure – and rule via martial law. Plans were further revealed that called for rounding up dissenting Americans who might cause trouble during a national crisis, such as civil unrest.
In 2006, KBR (a Halliburton subsidiary) received a $385 million dollar contract to construct and manage some 600 detention facilities for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), operating under supervision from the Department of Homeland Security, in order to “expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S.” These detention camps would be used to process and hold migrants until deportation determinations have been made.
Estimates say that each of the 600 emergency centers could house up to 5,000 people, with a total capacity of at least 400,000 – raising questions about why the president would need several billion more in emergency funding to create new centers.
Of course, the KBR contract also covers use of the facilities for other emergencies, such as those where FEMA would house displaced Americans during various crises. The ICE-designated government facilities could also be used by other agencies to “support the rapid development of new programs” or as part of a “plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster.”
In a political arena where dissidents of many stripes have been officially labeled ‘extremists’ and potential ‘domestic terrorists,’ many Americans are concerned about being swept up under “emergencies” in which they are considered part of the problem.
Early partisan skepticism suggests the bill may have trouble passing Congress in present form, but the nature of the request is revealing about the federal government’s larger designs for immigration reform, amnesty and border (in)security – and surely, something still must “be done” about the crisis. Problem-reaction-solution crisis management in strong form. Sigh.