MALDEF

Amnesty International Releases Scathing Criticism of ICE Detention Standards

This week, the leading voice for human rights across the globe, Amnesty International, issued an extensive report detailing the numerous human rights violations occurring within the U.S. immigration detention system. Beyond mere criticism though, the organization provided concrete actions that ICE could take to improve conditions for immigrant detainees and provide a more fair and humane system. Some of the findings and recommendations:
More than 300,000 men, women and children are detained by US immigration authorities each year. International human rights standards require that detention should only be used in exceptional circumstances, must be justified in each individual case and must be subject to judicial review. However, in the USA immigrants can be detained for months or years without any form of meaningful individualized judicial review of their detention.
In terms of detainee treatment:
Amnesty International documented pervasive problems including comingling of immigration detainees with individuals convicted of criminal offenses; inappropriate and excessive use of restraints; inadequate access to healthcare including mental health services; and inadequate access to exercise.
Recommendations:
The US Congress should pass legislation creating a presumption against the detention of immigrants and asylum seekers and ensuring that it be used as a measure of last resort;
And:
The US government should ensure the adoption of enforceable human rights detention standards in all detention facilities that house immigration detainees, either through legislation or through the adoption of enforceable policies and procedures by the Department of Homeland Security. There should be effective independent oversight to ensure compliance with detention standards and accountability for any violations.
To see the full report, click here.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund