Tens of Thousands Languish in Immigration Detention Without Hearings or Bond, Numbers Tripled Since 1996, Charges Amnesty International
Effective Alternatives to Detention Could Save Up to
The people detained include lawful permanent residents, undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers and survivors of torture and human trafficking. For some people, an immigration official is the final and only decision maker on detention — others receive no detention review at all. In the current system, rife with errors and lacking meaningful oversight, being detained in and of itself can virtually seal an immigrant’s fate.
“America should be outraged by the scale of human rights abuses occurring within its own borders,” said
The AIUSA report shows that the average cost of locking up an immigrant is
According to international law and standards, detention should only be used in exceptional circumstances, must be justified in each individual case and must be subject to judicial review.
For many immigrants, release from detention is out of reach because bonds are set impossibly high. And although immigration judges have the authority in some cases to release immigrants on their own recognizance or with a minimum bond of
Moreover, lawful permanent residents can be placed in “mandatory detention” with no right to a bond hearing before an immigration judge or judicial body. The categories of crimes that trigger mandatory detention are broad and difficult to define. In one case, a 37-year-old lawful permanent resident was deported to
Even more astounding, in 2007 alone, legal service providers identified 322 individuals in detention who may have been able to claim U.S. citizenship. For instance, Mr. W, born in
Immigrants are often put in excessive restraints, including handcuffs, belly chains and leg restraints, and are detained alongside individuals incarcerated for criminal offenses. Immigrant detainees also find it difficult to get medical attention; at least 74 immigrants have died in detention during the last five years.
To rectify these issues, AIUSA calls on the U.S. government to:
- Pass legislation mandating that immigration detention be used only in exceptional circumstances, and ensuring that alternative non-custodial measures, such as reporting requirements or affordable bond, are always considered first;
- Ensure that all immigrants and asylum seekers have access to individualized hearings before a judicial body at the outset on the lawfulness, necessity and appropriateness of detention;
- Enact enforceable human rights detention standards in all facilities that house immigration detainees and hold facilities accountable for any violations.
For more information, please visit www.amnestyusa.org.
SOURCE Amnesty International