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DWN Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Strike Down Sen. @ChuckGrassley’s Extremist Detention Amendments in Senate Immigration Bill

May 15, 2013

For Immediate Release: May 15, 2013

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Media Contacts:
Andrea Black, 520-240-3726ablack@detentionwatchnetwork.org
Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371tina@realizeink.com

Washington, D.C. – The markup of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act is expected to address amendments 41, 47, 51 and 53 put forth by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Thursday, May 16. Detention Watch Network (DWN) urges members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to strike down these draconian amendments that further destroy American values of fairness and due process.

“The Grassley amendments would essentially strip any positive detention provisions that are included in the current bill and instead expand inhumane policies like indefinite detention,” said Andrea Black, Executive Director of DWN. “The introduction of these amendments by Senator Grassley is a direct affront to years of advocacy to reform the immigration detention system, which operates with an arbitrary mandate of who should be detained and little oversight.”

While the bill is a far cry from true reform of the immigration system, DWN is encouraged to see that it would require Department of Homeland Security to consider the use of alternatives to detention for a broader category of immigrants, including those that are denied due process under mandatory detention. Currently, 70 percent of immigrants are in detention due to mandatory detention, which means that neither Immigration and Customs Enforcement nor any judge has the power to release them to their families and communities.

Just two weeks ago, two Guatemalan nationals committed suicide within a few days of each other at the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) run Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. The facility operates under outdated detention condition guidelines and has neglected to fully address over nine deaths that have occurred there since 2004. While the incident at Eloy is tragic, the situation there is exemplary of rampant conditions and staffing issues at detention centers across the country.

“The detention provisions currently outlined in the bill would limit the use of solitary confinement, provide access to legal information for all people in detention, and require more oversight of facilities, including those that are run by private prison companies like CCA” said Black. “Senator Grassley wants to thwart these potentially lifesaving reform efforts.”

For DWN’s statement on the bill please click here.

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