- ---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Action <aclu@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Tell the Senate to fix our broken and cruel detention system.
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Dolores fled to the United States from Honduras seeking asylum from her abusive boyfriend and landed straight into our abusive immigration system.
Her only crime was seeking a safe haven in America, but for that she spent two torturous years behind bars at an immigration lockup.
Dolores couldn't keep in contact with her three children or get access to the psychiatric care she desperately needed, and the only time she saw the sun was on the way to an immigration court. By the time she was released, Dolores had lost a third of her hair from the stress.
Finally, an immigration judge saw the common sense wisdom of letting Dolores live in a women's shelter under "supervised release," but only after two years of emotional trauma and a cost of $60,000 to American taxpayers. Our broken immigration detention system creates hundreds of thousands of stories like Dolores’s each year.
Yesterday, an ACLU lawyer testified on our irrational immigration detention system before the Senate Judiciary Committee, tasked with overseeing immigration reform. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken immigration system, but it will only happen if a groundswell of people stand up for Dolores and those like her. Can you add your voice today?
Yes, I can sign the petition to the Senate Judiciary Committee to tell them to repair our cruel and broken detention system.
Dolores is just one of the 429,000 adults and children locked up in our inhumane detention system every year. Over half of these people have never been convicted of any crime, and are detained only for immigration-related matters, such as overstaying a visa. Those with criminal convictions are overwhelmingly people with misdemeanors and minor offenses for which no jail time was served.
Conditions in these detention centers violate people's basic constitutional protections: twenty-four hours in cells without sunlight, high levels of reported sexual, mental and physical abuse and denial of access to legal counsel.
This “lock’em up” approach to immigration defies common sense as well as our fundamental values. In America, liberty should be the norm for everyone—and detention the last resort.
Sign the petition to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee we want an end to a detention system that punishes immigrants like hardened criminals and wastes taxpayer money in the process.
Over the last 15 years, the number of people in detention has more than tripled. Immigration prisons now cost $2 billion annually, with the American taxpayer footing the bill.
It's approximately ten times more expensive per day to detain a person in detention than effective alternatives such as supervised release. A 34,000 daily bed quota for detention set by a government agency is partly to blame. That means we’re wasting money locking up men, women and children based on bed counts instead of justice or humanity.
I'll tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that we urgently need to reform our immigration enforcement system.
Federal action on immigration reform must honor America’s noble history as a land of immigrants and create a roadmap for the 11 million people currently aspiring to citizenship. This reform must recognize that the Constitution protects immigrants, with due process cornerstones like access to counsel and freedom from detention without a hearing.
Thanks for standing together,
Anthony and the ACLU Action Team.
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