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Reports Call on ICE to Stop Playing “Musical Chairs” with Detainees

by Dara Lind on 12/02/2009 at 5:28pm

detentionThe New York Times writes today that new reports from Human Rights Watch and the bipartisan Constitution Project say the immigration detention system “lacks basic fairness.” From the article:

The bipartisan group, the Constitution Project, whose members include Asa Hutchinson, a former undersecretary of Homeland Security, called for sweeping changes in agency policies and amendments to immigration law, including new access to government-appointed counsel for many of those facing deportation.

In its report, the human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, revealed government data showing 1.4 million detainee transfers from 1999 to 2008. The transfers are accelerating, the report found, sending tens of thousands of longtime residents of cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles to remote immigration jails in Texas and Louisiana, far from legal counsel and the evidence that might help them win release.

“I.C.E. is increasingly subjecting detainees to a chaotic game of musical chairs, and it’s a game with dire consequences,” said Alison Parker, deputy director in the United States for the human rights group, and author of its report.

These are only the most recent in a long line of reports documenting the abuses of the detention system. Good to see these issues being brought to the public’s attention, but it is time for real, lasting change in immigrant detention policy– not more of the same.

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