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“Careless detention” and open-borders journalism

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 14, 2008 11:49 AM

Hey, boys and girls, it’s time for another Pulitzer fishing expedition by the Washington Post.

I just finished wading through the paper’s hype-inflated series on the federal immigration detention system’s shoddy health care.

WaPo purports to expose a “hidden network” of immigrant prisons and pretends to blow the lid off Abu Ghraib-like and Gitmo-esque conditions in a handful of cases that supposedly symbolize systemic abuse that harkens back to FDR’s concentration camps.

Newsflash for the prize-anglers at the WaPo:

1) Despite your nutroots-ian descriptions of the sytem, there’s nothing “hidden” about the network of federal detention centers. Here’s a list of them all, along with the full detention operations manual. The “unseen network of prisons” has only been “unseen” by Beltway journalists who don’t give a damn about the deportation and detention abyss unless it can be used to cast America as oppressive human rights violators.

And to win journalism prizes.

2) Complaints about inadequate illegal alien detainee health care are published perenially by open borders-friendly media outlets spoon-fed by illegal alien advocacy groups seeking to undermine workplace raids and deportation laws. Their agenda isn’t to make the detention and removal process more efficient and safe for everyone (no reports telling the story of ICE detention and removal officers who have to deal with violent illegal alien felons on a daily basis, you’ll note). Their agenda is to render it inoperable.

3) The WaPo’s “scoop” today about the drugging of the most difficult-to-manage deportees is also old news.

4) The real scandal is that even after 9/11, there are a mere 33,000 detention beds for an illegal alien population upwards of 20 million.

5) The real scandal is that while 33,000 are in custody, some 400,000-500,000 illegal alien deportation fugitives are on the loose after they’ve been ordered to leave by immigration judges.

6) The real scandal is that for every detainee in custody, there are countless others who have been released and gone on to commit crimes and wreak havoc on American soil.

But those won’t be splashed on the front page and packaged with snazzy, multimedia features.

Because those won’t win journalism prizes.

***

More reax…

Mark Krikorian:

The Post piece (with an accompanying 60 Minutes segment) was a resounding success for the advocacy group that planted it, as was last week’s New York Times story along the same lines. The goal of all this coordinated coverage is to delegitimize the whole notion of detaining illegal immigrants, so as to prevent the government from being able to enforce the immigration law…

…The stories of deaths in detention are individual tragedies, of course, but without a bigger picture, they’re just sob stories. The number and rate of deaths in immigrant have actually been going down. Of the 311,213 deportable foreigners held in detention in 2007, 11 of them died. That’s 11 too many, obviously, but get real. And that’s less than half the number from three years before, when there were fewer people detained. And the death rate in detention for 2005 was 1/79th that of the age-adjusted rate for jails and prisons overall.

Even if there isn’t a crisis, the article plausibly suggests that there are problems in the recruitment and retention of nursing staff and the coordination of care. If so, then this is an issue of resources, not a Dickensian tale of callous bureaucrats. And even there, spending on detainee medical services has doubled since 2003.

From reader Glenn:

The Washington Post is running a four-part series on the health care of detained “immigrants” that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and plays fast and loose with a select set of “victims” to bash ICE (the Post is blatantly pro-illegal alien). In order to portray the ICE “victim” in the best light, the WaPo reporters, drawing on an ICE document that is linked to the article, only mention and try to deflect one charge from a 1998 conviction but willfully fail to acknowledge that she was also convicted to two more serious charges:

“[In 2006,] She pleaded guilty to drug possession and served her time. Ordinarily, that would have been that. But ICE had begun scouring jails and prisons nationwide for people it might be able to deport, and a check of Harvill’s criminal history turned up a decade-old felony conviction for buying stolen jewelry. Her lawyer insisted she’d had no idea it was stolen. A judge suspended the sentence and put her on probation, which was terminated early for good behavior.” WaPo 5/12/2008

The deception is revealed in the ICE letter (transcribed from pdf immediately below) from which the Post got the info on the stolen jewelry but intentionally ignored the rest of the sentence regarding trafficking and possession. It’s hard to portray a drug trafficker and user as a “victim.”

I’ve written the WaPo Ombudsman about this blatant effort to hide pertinent information but I doubt she’ll respond.

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