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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Recommends End to Immigrant Detention and 287(g) Program

by Mahwish Khan on 03/21/2011 at 4:07pm

Organization of American StatesLast week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released their December 2010 report revealing some (troubling) findings regarding the U.S. detention system. From the introduction of the report:

The Inter-American Commission is convinced that in many if not the majority of cases, detention is a disproportionate measure and the alternatives to detention programs would be a more balanced means of serving the State’s legitimate interest in ensuring compliance with immigration laws. The IACHR is disturbed by the rapid increase in the number of partnerships with local and state law enforcement for purposes of enforcing civil immigration laws.

Research for the report began in 2008, and included a team of investigators visiting six detention centers in Arizona and Texas. What they found was not pretty, according to the New York Times:

Immigration enforcement in the United States is plagued by unjust treatment of detainees, including inadequate access to lawyers and insufficient medical care, and by the excessive use of prison-style detention, the human rights arm of the Organization of American States said Thursday.

It was exactly one year ago that approximately 200,000 people gathered together in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC to show our nation’s leaders (who have repeatedly promised and pledged “change”) of their unwavering support for comprehensive immigration reform. Besides calling on the President and Congress to end splitting families apart, and to stop enabling a system that allows employers to easily exploit workers, a number of those advocates came to the National Mall to protest the increasing number of men and women who are sent to languish in detention facilities around the country. Though the Obama administration promised reforms to the detention system two years ago, Filipe González, president of the commission, sounds a little skeptical to the extent that will happen:

“According to the information that we have so far, it’s not clear that it’s been implemented or will satisfy the international standards” of human rights, he said in an interview.

In other recommendations of note, the commission believes that the enforcement program notoriously known to us (but highly revered by some of the more power-hungry; see Arpaio) as 287(g) be shut down.

It has also been reported that a spokesman for DHS, who oversees enforcement, said that the department would review the report. Sadly, we all know what that means: Absolutely nothing.

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