MALDEF PRAISES U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION ON ITS CALL FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF FAMILIES IN DETENTION CENTERS AND AN END TO CONGRESSIONAL FUNDING OF IMMIGRANT FAMILY DETENTION
Report Extensively Cites MALDEF Testimony
September 18, 2015
SAN ANTONIO, TX - Yesterday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), an independent and bipartisan agency that advises the President and Congress on civil rights matters, released its report on the state of civil rights at immigration detention centers in the United States. MALDEF testimony is cited throughout the report, which outlines a series of federal and constitutional violations at immigration detention facilities operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. MALDEF and other groups filed a complaint last year with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanding the immediate investigation of and swift response to widespread allegations of sexual abuse and harassment at the detention center in Karnes City.
"The Civil Rights Commission lends its strong voice to the chorus of organizations calling for an end to family detention," said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. "There is little doubt that family detention is an abomination that contradicts our national values and hard-fought governing principles."
The USCCR report recommends that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) release families from detention centers immediately, and that Congress stop funding detention for immigrant families, reduce funding for all immigration detention, and seek alternatives to detention. It also recommends that a government task force be created to investigate ICE compliance standards, and that the government work harder to ensure detainees' constitutional rights are protected.
According to the report, "The Commission found, among other issues, that several DHS immigration detention facilities were not complying with federal mandates and agency policies regarding the treatment of detained immigrants and detained unaccompanied immigrant children. Moreover, the Commission found evidence, both anecdotal and eyewitness, that the U.S. Government was interfering with the constitutional rights afforded to detained immigrants."
"The women and children in these family detention centers come to this country fleeing unspeakable gang and domestic violence," said MALDEF Regional Counsel Marisa Bono, who presented testimony before the Commission. "They deserve, at minimum, to be treated with dignity by the U.S. government and given due process under the law."
The USCCR report on immigration detention is available here.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.