The ACLU recently sent an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security to urge action on the inhumane detention of non-criminal immigrants, especially families. The letter, which was signed by 153 other human rights and immigrant advocacy groups, didn't ask immigration authorities to undertake some liberal plan. It simply asks the organization to follow the recommendations of experts the agency itself hired for advice on the issue.
While the detention policies of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have long faced criticism from both immigration advocates and human rights groups, one policy in particular has recently been drawing intense condemnation: the treatment of transgender detainees.
A few weeks back, our blog took a closer look at the important issue of how long a person can be held by a law enforcement agency on an immigration detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
While most people might not realize it, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has had a memorandum in place for several years directing agents not to take immigrants into custody at certain "sensitive locations" absent extraordinary circumstances.
When most of us envision the potential troubles faced by undocumented immigrants here in the U.S. on a daily basis, our thoughts almost immediately go to detention and deportation by federal officials. While this is certainly not inaccurate, it doesn't account for more mundane yet incredibly important issues like education, health care and, of course, employment.
The Transactional Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, whose stated purpose is to gather "comprehensive information about staffing, spending, and enforcement activities of the federal government," recently released a very eye-opening report discussing how immigrants are faring in the fight against deportation.
Reporters from EFE just pulled data on immigration enforcement actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year and found some surprising trends. Nationwide, the number of unauthorized immigrants arrested dropped by 23 percent during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. Notably, the ICE office in Miami prosecuted 33 percent fewer people for immigration offenses. Arrests of undocumented people also dropped substantially in Miami, as well as in Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Diego.
New Yorkers in general have a lot to gain if undocumented immigrants are allowed to apply for driver's licenses. An unlicensed driver is around five times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident, according to statistics quoted in the New York Daily News. Drivers with no insurance -- or who fear Immigration and Customs Enforcement may take them away from their families over traffic tickets -- are far more likely to leave the scene of a wreck.
One of the many concerns immigrant rights advocates have about the detention of unauthorized migrants by the Department of Homeland Security is that it separates families. In many cases, immigrants detained by ICE are held in DHS detention facilities far away from their American homes and families, and a number have been denied visitors or even access to legal counsel.
Immigration reform groups in New York told the New York Daily News recently that they plan to fight even harder for change in upcoming weeks, even after the extraordinary Oct. 8 Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect on the National Mall. At that rally more than 200 people, including eight members of Congress, were arrested for refusing to move from outside the closed Capitol building.