The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a report on proposed reforms to the detention system that recommends expanded use of alternatives to detention, new models for detention, and improved oversight of medical care and confinement of detainees.
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) views the recommendations as a welcome first step in addressing our broken immigration system, and moving away from the flawed penal system model that has been adopted for immigrant detention.
“We applaud the initiatives announced by DHS, in particular the recommended expansion of alternatives to detention, a move that CLINIC views as a more humane strategy for immigrants who are low risk, having only civil immigration law violations,” said CLINIC Executive Director Mark Franken.
“We welcome DHS’ expressed commitment to improve medical care for detainees and to initiate research into using converted nursing homes and hotels to house non criminal, non violent immigrants like asylum seekers and mothers. These are positive steps that echo CLINIC’s call for more humane treatment of immigrants in detention,” added Franken.
CLINIC urges DHS to move thoughtfully to implement the recommendations and ensure that the detention system maintains the humanity and dignity of immigrants.
CLINIC, which participated in ICE meetings to discuss proposed reforms, reiterates that ICE should consider as part of its detention reforms:
Continued collaboration – ICE should continue to engage non governmental organizations. These organizations offer an important perspective that includes on the ground knowledge.
Increased use of Alternatives to Detention – ICE has expressed in its report a willingness to expand use of Alternatives to Detention (ATD). CLINIC encourages ICE to consider ATD as a primary method of detainee management, particularly for the majority of immigrants who are non criminal and non violent.
To read the DHS report, go to: http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1254839781410.shtm
To read CLINIC’s 2003 report on detention and the impact on families: http://www.cliniclegal.org/sites/default/files/atrisk4.pdf