From American Immigration Lawyers Association:
In this year's budget request to Congress, President Obama asked for a decrease in the amount of spending on immigration detention. AILA supports the reduction of spending on unnecessary detention. But the Senate is now planning to appropriate to DHS $27 million more than the President's request for detention, providing an additional 600 detention beds a year that the administration has said it does not need.
Currently, American taxpayers spend over $2 billion a year detaining thousands of immigrants each day. ICE has all the tools it needs to safely release thousands of individuals it chooses to hold in detention; reports show that 40% of those held in detention have NO criminal history. There is no good reason to fund immigration detention above the President's request.
Call Senate Appropriations Chair, Senator Mary Landrieu, today and ask the Senate to follow the President's request on detention. D.C. Office Number: 202.228.6697
AILA Texas Chapter visits detention facilities
This week, AILA Texas Chapter members in Harlingen and San Antonio visited two local detention centers - Port Isabel Detention Center and the newly opened Karnes Country Civil Detention Center. For many AILA members, the tours were their first opportunity to see firsthand the impact of detention on their clients.
Anu Joshi, AILA's Grassroots Associate, said, "Walking through Port Isabel, you felt a level of hostility and anxiousness surrounding both the guards and the detainees-the uncertainty of their fate within and outside of the center's walls only added to the unease."
In describing conditions in the better facilities, Meredith Linsky, Executive Director of ProBar (the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project) in Harlingen, TX said: "La jaula, aunque sea de oro, sigue siendo jaula," quoting a Spanish saying that the cage is still a cage even if made of gold.
"Being detained in even the best of conditions is difficult, but it is especially difficult for those trying to apply for legal relief such as asylum, Cancellation of Removal, VAWA relief, U and T visas. ProBAR appreciates the efforts of AILA to highlight the challenging conditions of detention and support the efforts of pro bono attorneys in representing indigent immigrants and asylum seekers. While it is impossible to win every case, we provide much needed representation and emotional support to detainees who desire to remain in the United States."
Please, Call Senator Landrieu's office today and ask the Senate to follow the President's request on detention. D.C. Office Number: 202.228.6697