Austin, TX – Grassroots Leadership today issued a “green paper” of the report Operation Streamline: Drowning Justice and Draining Dollars along the Rio Grande. Operation Streamline is a controversial policy that mandates the criminal prosecution of border-crossers in certain areas. Before Streamline, immigration was usually enforced in the civil immigration system. The report analyzes the impact of Streamline on two border districts in Texas.
Key findings include that federal districts along the Texas-Mexico border have spent more than $1.2 billion in government dollars on the criminal detention and incarceration of border-crossers since the onset of Operation Streamline in 2005. More than 135,000 migrants have been criminally prosecuted in these two border districts since 2005 under two sections of the federal code that make unauthorized entry and re-entry a crime.
The vast majority of these costs have been funneled into for-profit private prisons contracted by U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Bureau of Prisons. “The human costs of Operation Streamline fall squarely on immigrant families,” said Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership. “Meanwhile, private prison corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group are quietly profiting from this broken system.”
“The criminalization of immigration did not begin with Arizona’s SB1070,” said Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership’s Texas Campaigns Coordinator and a report co-author. “Operation Streamline has subjected undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border to unprecedented rates of detention. It has also overburdened the federal judiciary. It’s time to end this Bush-era policy.”