ACLU Comment on New Immigration Detention Bill

October 3, 2017 10:45 am

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WASHINGTON — Congress introduced a bill today that will end profiteering from immigration detention by private prisons and local jails and ensure that all detained immigrants have prompt access to bond hearings. It will also set enforceable standards to ensure those who remain in custody are in a system that is safe, humane, transparent, subject to robust oversight, and accountable to the public.

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act will significantly reduce the number of individuals held in immigration custody while bringing fairness and integrity to a system that has long been out of control.

Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns for the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following statement:

“The Trump administration has made it clear that it will aggressively target immigrants for arrest and detention. This bill is an important step toward stemming the unchecked expansion of the immigration detention system, ensuring much needed oversight and accountability over detention operations and providing greater protections for immigrants. We call on Congress to immediately pass this bill in order to end the overreliance on an inhumane and ineffective system and treat immigrants in detention with fairness and dignity.

“Over the past decade, the immigration detention system has grown dramatically without sufficient safeguards against human and civil rights abuses. It is a system known for egregious violations, including sexual assault, prolonged solitary confinement, and life-threatening medical neglect. Many of the people detained are fleeing persecution in their home countries, while others have lived in the U.S. for years. They are often detained in for-profit prisons and county jails isolated from family, community, and legal support. Many are detained for months without access to an immigration judge and are denied basic rights.”

The bill was introduced on the same day of Supreme Court arguments in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case brought by the ACLU challenging the federal government’s practice of detaining immigrants for months without the basic due process of a bond hearing.

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