Whether you’re first learning about immigrant and refugees, or have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them for a long time, I want to offer you a chance to act on your beliefs.
Every Tuesday, therefore, I’ll be bringing you an action alert about an opportunity to raise your voice on a national-level issue. The alert may propose a specific action — writing an elected official, for example — or it may give you a heads-up that such actions are upcoming, or report on how previous alerts produced results. On Thursdays, you should find similar state-level action alerts.
Thanks for your previous actions to stand with immigrants and refugees! I look forward to bringing you these regular updates, so that together, we can change the policies that have so much power over people’s lives.
This week, I want to alert you to a huge development in immigration detention reform. Detention Watch Network (DWN), with the support of Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), has released a series of 10 reports highlighting conditions at the worst immigration detention centers in the country as part of a campaign to “Expose and Close” the 10 worst immigration detention centers and pressure the Obama Administration to work towards a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration laws.
The reports contain testimony from attorneys, community volunteers, nonprofits, and detainees regarding conditions in Baker County Jail in Florida, Pinal County Jail in Arizona, Etowah County Jail in Alabama, Polk County Jail in Texas, the Houston Processing Center in Texas, Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, Hudson County Jail in New Jersey, Theo Lacy Detention Center in California, Irwin County Detention Facility in Georgia, and the Tri-County Detention Center in Illinois. Some of the most dire problems revealed include abuse by guards, remote locations and expensive phone calls that severely impede access to counsel, and nearly nonexistent medical care. In some cases, these conditions have been directly responsible for detainee deaths.
I’m proud to say that LIRS has applauded DWN for launching the “Expose and Close” campaign and has long advocated for using detention only as a last resort. Please explore LIRS resources on alternatives to detention and take the time to explore these enlightening reports and use your knowledge to raise awareness about conditions of immigration detention. Also, please visit the LIRS Action Center to tell your members of Congress and President Obama to work towards fair and humane immigration reform.
I hope these alerts become a regular way for you to keep informed and take action for what you believe. Please send me an email or leave a comment if you think of ways they could be more useful, or know of specific actions you feel are important. Most of all, thank you for standing with immigrants and refugees!