DALLAS – May 13, 2013 As immigration reform works its way through Washington, Dan Rather Reports begins a two-part investigation into the many stories and facets of this complicated issue. The first installment focuses on “Operation Streamline”, a controversial federal program that criminally charges undocumented immigrants picked up in the United States and sends them to jail. Advocates say it’s a deterrent that works. Critics call it assembly line justice. The report features exclusive footage of Operation Streamline in action from inside a federal courtroom in Arizona.
The investigation also looks at millions of federal dollars being spent on housing recently convicted immigrants in several private prisons in Arizona. After their sentence is completed, the immigrants are returned to Mexico where surveys have shown many quickly return to the United States illegally.
“This program was meant to criminalize people entering illegally, as quickly as possible, as many of them as possible,” said Jason Hannan, a federal public defender who has represented defendants in Operation Streamline. “Seventy defendants at once, addressed by the courts and taken care of, in some cases, with some magistrate judges in thirty minutes? There’s no way that a court system could get away with this if it were white U.S. citizens. My jaw drops still thinking about it.”
The report also travels to Mexico to witness the consequences of Operation Streamline on the other side of the border. A study out of the University of Arizona based on over a thousand interviews with undocumented immigrants raises troubling questions, and the program features on-the-record interviews with recently deported immigrants who say they’re coming back, regardless of Operation Streamline.
In a visit to a shelter in Nogales, Mexico, our team met Carlos, a man originally brought into the U.S. at five months old and recently deported, leaving behind his entire family. When asked if going back to jail in the United States would deter him from trying to get back he said, “No, no I’ve made up my mind. It’s just not going to happen. I’m going back no matter what it takes. I need to get back.”
“Dan Rather Reports: Operation Streamline” airs Tuesday, May 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT only on AXS TV.
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