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Detention Watch Network Responds to #HJC Hearing on #CIR13

February 5, 2013

By Jesus Barraza, Dignidad Rebelde

Detention Watch Network Responds to House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Immigration Reform

Urges that nation’s inhumane and costly detention practices be addressed

Washington, DC — February 5, 2013 — As the House Judiciary Committee began hearings on our country’s immigration crisis today and is reportedly due to release a draft bill on immigration reform as early as next week, Emily Tucker, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Detention Watch Network, is urging legislators to repeal mandatory detention laws:

“While we are excited about the momentum to finally create a path to citizenship for millions of people, immigration reform must include the reform of our wasteful and inhumane detention and deportation system. Neither the White House’s nor Senate’s plans respond to years of community outrage about border and interior enforcement programs that have separated families, violated due process rights, and led to serious human rights abuses. Many of those abuses occur in the 250 immigrant prisons where ICE holds over 400,000 people a year at a cost of $122 per person per day. More than 60% of those people are detained because of mandatory detention laws which take away ICE’s power to release people, and take away the power of judges to even review individual cases.

We have a real opportunity in front of us to get it right, and not repeat the mistakes of the reform efforts of the last decade. President Obama’s immigration blueprint called for a reduction in detention spending, a reduction that will be impossible as long as mandatory detention laws remain in place. But not only is Congress not planning to repeal mandatory detention through this round of legislation, there is a strong possibility that they will expand it. The price-tag for legalization must not include the continuation of this un-American practice, which criminalizes people of color, separates families and causes incredible suffering in our communities.

It’s absolutely crucial Congress include a rollback of mandatory detention laws in any new immigration legislation — fair, humane and cost-effective immigration policy is impossible as long as they are in place.”

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