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Senate committee votes on immigrant detention amendments



An Orange County Sheriff's deputy keeps watch over a group of immigrant detainees at the Theo Lacy Facility, where the federal government contracts detention space. Immigrant detention is among the issues being weighed by a Senate committee as it debates amendments to an immigration reform bill.
An Orange County Sheriff's deputy keeps watch over a group of immigrant detainees at the Theo Lacy Facility, where the federal government contracts detention space. Immigrant detention is among the issues being weighed by a Senate committee as it debates amendments to an immigration reform bill.
Jae C. Hong/AP

The Senate Judiciary Committee is still moving toward its much-anticipated showdown over immigrant visas and a path to legal status as it weighs a comprehensive immigration reform bill. But Monday, one highlight of the committee hearing was immigrant detention.

Committee members voted on amendments into the evening. But a handful of those addressed during the session concerned the solitary confinement of detainees, the fate of children of detained parents, and transparency: 

Other detention-related amendments being considered include one from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would strike a provision in the Senate bill calling for an expansion of detention alternatives, such as electronic monitoring.

The federal immigrant detention system, much of which is operated by private contractors, has continued to face problems in spite of an overhaul announced in 2009. Over the past several years, scandals have erupted over the incarceration of families with children, the solitary confinement of detainees, and deaths in custody. Just recently, two detainees committed suicide within three days in a contracted detention center in Arizona.

See a complete list of today's amendments voted on here.