This month, Detention Watch Network (DWN) re-launches the Dignity Not Detention campaign to highlight the new focus to repeal mandatory detention. Mandatory detention is the practice of imprisoning an individual without any consideration of whether incarceration is necessary or appropriate.
In 1996, the U.S. passed IIRIRA and AEDPA, two laws that drastically expanded the category of people subject to mandatory detention. Now any non-citizen can end up being subject to mandatory detention, including legal permanent residents who have lived in the U.S their entire lives, asylum seekers, torture survivors, single mothers, the sick and the elderly. September 30 is the 15 year anniversary of Clinton signing IIRIRA into law, which along with AEDPA has resulted in a 500% increase in the number of people being detained each year. In 2010, 363,000 immigrants were detained and at least 60% were detained because of mandatory detention.
DWN members are taking action the last week of September to highlight the growing number of detention beds due to mandatory detention. DWN member American Friends Service Committee will hold a press conference on September 27 to highlight ICE’s new contract with Essex County to detain more immigrants in the New York and New Jersey area. In Florida, the Florida Immigrant Coalition has been a fighting a battle to stop the building of a CCA a facility in Broward County, FL and will be taking action on September 29. In addition, DWN will host a teleconference on September 29 to reflect on the impact of 15 years of increased mandatory detention and the current detention expansion that is taking place. For more information about the teleconference and how to get involved please go to http://dignitynotdetention.org or email Silky Shah at firstname.lastname@example.org.