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Press Release: DWN Day of Action and Report Card on ICE Detention Reform

October 6, 2010

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October 6, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jacqueline Esposito, Detention Watch Network, 202-393-1044 ext. 223, jesposito@detentionwatchnetwork.org; or Silky Shah, Detention Watch Network 347-243-8743, sshah@detentionwatchnetwork.org

Detention Watch Network calls for Dignity, Not Detention on One-year Anniversary of Obama Administration’s Detention Reform Announcement

Groups demand the Obama Administration put an end to human rights violations in the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system

Washington, D.C. – Human rights groups around the country participated in a National Day of Action organized by Detention Watch Network to mark the one-year anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s (ICE) 2009 detention reform announcement.  The National Day of Action is part of the, “Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights and Restoring Justice,” campaign led by the Detention Watch Network, which calls for an end to the human rights abuses in detention centers, the restoration of due process in the enforcement of immigration laws, and the implementation of cost saving alternatives.

As part of the Day of Action, Detention Watch Network released a joint report, Year One Report Card: Human Rights & the Obama Administration’s Immigration Detention Reforms, it co-authored with National Immigrant Justice Center and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights.  The report reveals that many of those detained still suffer egregious human rights violations while in custody.  Immigrants continue to be jailed for months or even years under substandard conditions. Mistreatment by guards, grossly deficient medical care, use of solitary of confinement, and limited access to family and counsel remain persistent problems.

Last year, ICE promised to move away from the sprawling network of jails and prisons it uses to detain immigrants toward a less punitive model and take concrete steps to improve conditions of confinement for the nearly 400,000 people detained each year.  But according to the report, the agency’s reform agenda has been compromised by a growing detention population, internal opposition to reform by local ICE officials, and the expansion of ICE enforcement programs like 287(g), Secure Communities, and the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) that rely on local law enforcement agencies to channel more and more immigrants into the detention system.

“What the Year One Report Card shows is that the steps the Obama Administration has taken this year are not enough to bring about meaningful changes in the lives of immigrants,” said Emily Tucker, Policy and Advocacy Director at Detention Watch Network. “Until ICE limits detention to only those rare cases where it has been shown necessary to ensure public safety, the human rights crisis in the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system will persist.”

Participants in the National Day of Action are calling for the restoration of human rights within the detention system, and an end to programs that indiscriminately channel immigrants into the detention and deportation system.  Coordinated actions occurred across the country in cities including Austin, TX, Freehold, NJ, Minneapolis, MN, Seattle, WA and Trenton, NJ.  For more information visit www.dignitynotdetention.org.

The report is available at http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/

The Detention Watch Network is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for reform so that all who come to our shores receive fair and humane treatment.  For more information visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org

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