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UN rights experts urge US to end mandatory immigrant detention

While a chaotic presidential campaign roars along and dominates much of New York City's news coverage, important stories sometimes get overlooked. One such story unfolded over the past day or two as United Nations rights experts called on the U.S. government to end mandatory detention of migrants.

The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called particular attention to the plight of asylum-seeking migrants held by the federal government. The group found that many migrants are detained in punitive conditions.

"People are being detained under punitive conditions that are often indistinguishable from those applicable to persons subject to criminal punishment," the UN panel stated. They noted that mandatory migrant detention -- and mandatory detention of asylum seekers -- violates international law.

Detention should be the exception, not the rule, they said. Detention should only be used when there is a danger to the community, a flight risk, or when detention is the final step in a deportation order issued after a full hearing.

The group said U.S. immigration officials should address immigration family separations by implementing alternative methods to detention.

The group also urged the U.S. government to improve access to immigration attorneys for migrants in both criminal justice and immigration matters.

At the Law Offices of Stephen Santucci, PC, in Staten Island, we have extensive experience representing clients who face possible removal. We frequently work with clients who are being detained as well, whether they are in New York, New Jersey or any other state. You can contact us for a confidential discussion of your legal options.

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