Local Activists Demand "Dignity not Detention" and Call for an End to Human Rights Abuses in Arizona

Affiliate: ACLU of Arizona
February 25, 2010 12:00 am

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ACLU of Arizona
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PHOENIX – Local activists and community members will participate in a solidarity action in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in central Phoenix where they will call on the federal government to end all immigration enforcement agreements with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. The action will take place from 12:00pm to 1:00pm ending with a press conference at 1:00pm.

The action is part of the launch of the national campaign, "Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights and Restoring Justice." The campaign is a national effort led by the Detention Watch Network to call for an end to the expansion of the U.S. immigration enforcement and detention regimes, including agreements with local law enforcement. Over 30 organizations will participate in coordinated actions in cities across the country including Gainesville, GA, Phoenix, San Antonio, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

"Today's action sends the message that so long as the federal government continues to cooperate with MCSO on immigration enforcement in Arizona, they remain complicit in the human rights abuses committed against immigrants, their families and communities in Maricopa County," said Carlos Garcia, a Phoenix community organizer with Puente and organizer of today's action.

Despite DHS announcements made last fall regarding plans to reform the immigrant detention system, there is little evidence of change. In addition to detaining 3,000 immigrants in Arizona daily, and over 33,000 nationally, the Department of Homeland Security continues to work with MCSO through a 287(g) agreement in the county jails.

"Under the 287(g) program ICE and Maricopa County subject people to costly and in many cases unnecessary detention," said Victoria López, Immigrant Rights Advocate at the ACLU of Arizona. "DHS cannot meaningfully address detention reform while continuing to support sweeping enforcement practices that fail to protect basic human rights and fundamental due process for all people in Arizona."

Immigrants in the U.S. are detained in a web of over 350 private, federal, state and local jails and prisons, at an annual cost of $1.7 billion to taxpayers. Many are detained for prolonged periods of time due to mandatory and arbitrary detention laws and policies that severely limit judicial discretion. While detained, many people face inhumane detention conditions, including inadequate medical care, solitary confinement, mistreatment and limited access to family and attorneys.

For more information about the campaign, please go to: www.diginitynotdetention.org

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