As America continues to call on Congress to bring our immigration system into the 21st century – with workable solutions that uphold our values and move us forward – a new report released today by two Midwest human rights organizations highlights alarming problems in immigrant detention facilities as well.
The report, Not Too Late for Reform, authored by the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) – of which Nebraska Appleseed is a member – and Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), documents ongoing abuses at county jails holding immigrants in the Midwest.
The report notes that the Department of Homeland Security continues to unnecessarily detain massive numbers of people – “[n]early 50 percent of immigrants deported in fiscal year 2012 were not convicted of any crime and should not have been incarcerated” – and then describes the deeply worrisome conditions those individuals face. Through intake interviews with nearly 1,600 individuals in three county jails, the report documents inadequate food, blankets, hygiene, and access to legal counsel typical of immigration detention facilities across the United States.
While the local experiences of families and communities continue to demonstrate the urgent need for members of Congress to accomplish common-sense immigration reform, Not Too Late for Reform calls on the President to end the expansion and privatization of an abusive immigration detention system.