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Detention Watch Network Supports Release of Immigrants from Detention

February 26, 2013

For Immediate Release. Contact: Silky Shah, 347-243-8743


Image by Santiago Armengod via

Urgency is Building for Congress to Act and Restore Basic Dignity

Washington, DC – The Detention Watch Network, a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to reform the U.S. detention and deportation system, celebrated today as hundreds of people returned home to their communities and families after being released from immigration detention centers across the country. The action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to prepare for sequestration confirms the arbitrary nature of immigration detention, and comes just months after 300 national and local groupsdemanded the closure of 10 of the worst immigration jails in the U.S. Following is a statement from Andrea Black, Executive Director of the Detention Watch Network: 

We are encouraged to see that ICE has heard our demands and released immigrants from some of our country’s worst detention facilities, including the Polk County Detention Center in Texas. Now is the time to review government priorities and stop using a political calculus to detain immigrants unnecessarily. This action must be a part of a larger initiative to reform our immigration detention system.

True reform also requires Congress to act and repeal the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which has been almost single-handedly responsible for the tripling of the number of people in detention. As a result of IIRIRA’s draconian mandatory detention provisions, the government needlessly incarcerates thousands of immigrants every year to the tune of $164 per person per day.

Detention Watch Network calls on Congress to pass legislation to reduce the unnecessary, inhumane, and wasteful detention of immigrants. Until Congress acts, the Obama Administration must renew its commitment to urgent reform of the detention system by closing the most egregious detention facilities, aggressively working with non-governmental organizations to promote community-based supervision programs for those in proceedings, and pushing for legal regulation and third party oversight of the remaining detention centers. We request that ICE expand on this recent action by releasing everyone not subject to mandatory detention, and using alternative programs for those that are.”


The Detention Watch Network works through the collective strength and diversity of its members to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.

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