In 2010, more than 400,000 migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers faced prolonged detention with little to no judicial review or access to a lawyer.
All at a cost of $1.7 billion dollars to taxpayers.
On any given day, the U.S. immigration authority detains over 32,000 people. But when we look closely we see that many of those in detention are asylum seekers, torture survivors, victims of human trafficking and others who should be helped, and not thrown into a jail cell.
We forget that every person’s case is different. And if we were to shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to an individualized case-by-case determination of who should be detained, we could create a more humane and cost-cutting enforcement system.
- Because if they are not a flight risk or a security risk, they shouldn’t be deprived of their liberty for months, and sometimes years.
- Because we believe in the principle of proportionality- someone should only be deprived of their liberty to the extent that they cannot be trusted to appear in court.
- Because we know that there is a spectrum of choices to ensure people comply with immigration courts ranging from release on bail and community-support programs on one end, to ankle monitors and detention on the other.
- Because the difference between alternatives to detention and detention is not only an estimated saving to taxpayers of $100 a day per detainee, for those released it is a chance to go through immigration proceedings with dignity and the support of family and community.
Help us and our partners lead the transformation. In June we will be releasing a report that explores how the expansion of Alternatives to Detention can increase the government’s ability to achieve its goals for immigration enforcement as well as meet human rights obligations. In the meantime spread the word and get people talking on Facebook and visit our partners at the Detention Watch Network and get more information.