>> US immigration authorities are transferring about 1,600 detainees into federal prisons. This marks the first large scale use of federal prisons to hold immigration detainees. Amid a Trump administration crack down on illegal immigration that's reflected in recent numbers. In April 2018, nearly 51,000 people were apprehended at or near the border with Mexico, up from about 16,000 in April last year.
An immigration and customs enforcement or ice spokeswoman exclusively told Reuters Thursday, that five federal prisons will temporarily taken detainees, awaiting civil immigration court hearings. One prison in Victorville, California, is preparing to house as many as a thousand people. Sources say, ICE has used federal penitentiaries in the past but not on this scale.
Under former President Barack Obama, many immigrants without serious criminal records were allowed to await their court dates while living in the US. Others were housed in immigration detention facilities or local jails. Immigration advocates slamming the new policy, worried that immigration detainees might be vulnerable in a prison setting, where security staff are more used to dealing with hardened criminals.
Union leaders at prisons in California, Texas, and Washington state telling Reuters, they had little time to prepare for this mass transfer.