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Video: L.A. advocates launch ‘Dignity not Detention’ campaign in tandem with events around US

February 25, 2010

LOCAL ADVOCATES DEMAND IMMEDIATE REFORM OF BROKEN IMMIGRANT DETENTION SYSTEM

Lawyers and Advocates Paint a Stark Picture of Life in Secretive Immigrant Detention Centers;
Implore Obama to Make Necessary Changes

LOS ANGELES – Southland advocates today released a video denouncing the current state of the nation’s immigrant detention system and imploring the Obama administration to take immediate action. In their video, advocates, lawyers, and a former detainee described a system where immigrants are routinely denied access to lawyers and loved ones, a fair day in court, or even basic necessities like toothbrushes and sanitary napkins.

“The Obama Administration has talked a lot about how they want to reform immigration detention and make it a more civil system. There is nothing civil about this system,” said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center and co-author of A Broken System, the center’s report on the nation’s immigrant detention centers. “The administration needs to put their own standards into binding regulations. They can do that with a few strokes of their pen.”

The video is part of the launch of the “Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights and Restoring Justice” national campaign, which calls for an end to detention expansion nationally (http://dignitynotdetention.org).

Immigrants in the United States are detained in a secretive web of over 350 private, federal, state and local jails and prisons, at an annual cost of $1.7 billion to taxpayers.  Last July, the National Immigration Law Center, ACLU-SC and the law firm Holland and Knight released a report finding that these detention centers routinely violated their own minimal standards. Detention centers often failed to remedy these standards violations for years, leaving immigrants to languish in facilities that lacked access to legal resources, working phones, and other basic needs.

Produced by Aquifer Media, the video is available on YouTube http://bit.ly/beqPL0 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTCPfYZp_jI Media outlets and others can download the video through the Firefox Add-on Easy YouTube Video Downloader: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10137 .

Advocates and lawyers in the video included: Judy London and Talia Inlender, Public Counsel; Nathalie Contreras and Axel  Landaverry, Homies Unidos; and Carl Bergquist, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

For further interviews or information, representative speakers in English or Spanish are available by phone from 11:00 am until 12:30pm today. Contact Will Coley if you are interested in speaking with them: 917.523.1963.

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