AFSC: Tell ICE to Recognize the Dignity of Every Individual
Throughout the U.S., more than 33,000 immigrants are detained on civil immigration charges on any given day. Detainees include asylum seekers, long-time lawful permanent residents facing deportation, and people arrested in immigration raids or stops. They are not entitled to government appointed legal representation, and are held indefinitely, until their immigration proceedings are completed or they can be deported. The mass
detention of individuals on civil charges violates our fundamental right to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention, but we have an opportunity to challenge it now.
The American Friends Service Committee works hard to bring attention to the human rights nightmare that immigrants in detention face. In our field offices in New Jersey and in Colorado AFSC organizers have joined forces with faith and community leaders to offer alternatives to detention of immigrants.
The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to review each detention and release detainees who are not flight risks and do not present any danger. It ignores that authority, however, and refuses to release the many people in detention do not need to be detained at all.
Please join AFSC in calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to recognize the dignity of each individual in its custody by using existing legal standards for each case to determine whether detention is really necessary.
Without individual case review, more and more people are subject to unnecessary detention. With closures of facilities, detainees are not released, but are transferred from jail to jail, often without notice to families or attorneys and without proper medical records, leading to less access for visits and more isolation.
In New York, ICE has announced its plans to close the Varick Federal Detention Facility, and to move its almost 300 detainees to Hudson County Jail in New Jersey. Current detainees in Hudson County would be transferred to other jails in New Jersey. These transfers and disruptions in already disrupted lives are unnecessary and can be avoided if ICE exercises its authority to review the individual cases and release detainees who are eligible for release.
Amy Gottlieb and Christian Ramirez
AFSC’s Immigrant Rights Programs.