WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union joined 13 legal service providers and immigrants’ rights organizations today to urge Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to abandon its plans to significantly expand immigrant detention at sites near four major cities.
The groups submitted a letter in response to the agency’s Oct. 12 request for information to identify new facilities for immigrant detention in the areas surrounding Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
If this plan moves forward, ICE could detain up to 3,000 people a day in addition to the approximately 40,000 people — including long-term U.S. residents and asylum seekers — already detained by ICE in more than 200 jails and jail-like facilities throughout the country. Immigrants would be detained without meaningful access to counsel with existing local resources already stretched too thin. And for those in ICE detention, access to counsel can be life-saving, as detained immigrants with counsel are twice as likely to obtain immigration relief as those without.
“This attempt to expand ICE detention is part of the continued assault on immigrant communities in this country,” said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the ACLU. “ICE’s intention to expand detention in areas surrounding four of the nation’s largest cities is deeply disturbing. This move represents further action by the Trump administration to target long term residents, including Dreamers, asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries, and other immigrant communities. The ICE detention system is already notorious for inhumane and abusive conditions as well as lack of transparency and accountability. This is yet another example of the Trump administration’s dangerous immigration policies. We join our partners today to firmly oppose this unwarranted action.”
The full list of signatories is below:
Advocates for Human Rights, Minnesota
American Civil Liberties Union
ACLU of Illinois
ACLU of Michigan
ACLU of Minnesota
ACLU of Utah
ACLU of Wyoming
Detention Watch Network
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Immigrant Legal Services, Salt Lake City
Michigan Immigrant Rights Center
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
National Immigrant Justice Center, Chicago
Detainee Rights Clinic, James H. Binger Center for New Americans, University of Minnesota Law School