Current U.S. detention and immigration enforcement policies pose a grave threat to civil and human rights. The recent expansion of flawed enforcement programs is bad for America, and Department of Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano, is not upholding the Obama administration’s promise to find workable solutions. The abuses carried out under 287g agreements, which relinquish authority to enforce federal immigration laws to local law enforcement, are causing an outcry from immigrant and civil rights organizations across the country.
This video and petition by America’s Voice highlight the dangerous and expensive operations by DHS.
According to Reform Immigration FOR America, organizations are coordinating efforts to condemn DHS’s illegal raids on homes and unconstitutional practices. They are also protesting the expansion of flawed programs that undermine labor protections and unfairly target workers.
Police officers from around the country have spoken out against flawed 287(g) agreements because they do not take into account teh abuses perpetrated by the likes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights in collaboration with National civil and immigrant rights organizations like Center for New Community are signing on to a letter to urge President Obama to immediately end the 287g program.
In related news, there is shocking new information on the facilitites used to detain immigrants caught in a broken system. According to a 170-page report released by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the ACLU of Southern California, and the law firm of Holland & Knight, there is “substantial and pervasive violations of the government’s own minimum standards for conditions at facilities holding detained immigrants”
The situation is grave; threats to civil rights of anyone living in America are threats to our democracy.
In more positive developments, two bills were introduced to address urgent detention issues: the “Protect Citizens from Unlawful Detention Act,” sponsored by Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Kennedy (D-MA) and Menedez (D-NJ) and the “Prevent Detainee Deaths and Abuse Act,” sponsored by Senators Gillibrand (D_NY) and Menendez (D-NJ). The first requires immigration authorities to ensure that U.S. citizens and other vulnerable populations such as children are informed of their rights when arrested, are considered for release, and are treated humanely while detained. The second calls for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment of those in custody.
ICE detained over 300,000 people last year in a severely strained detention system. This sprawling network of federal, state, local and private prisons fails to adequately provide for the basic needs of those detained by ICE.
This legislation is urgently needed to combat reckless enforcement practices. Enough is enough.