It’s my privilege to use this blog to lift up the voices of my colleagues. Today, as the new Senate bill (S.744) is unveiled, I’d like to share the thoughts of LIRS Interim Director for Access to Justice Megan Bremer. For additional analysis of S.744, please click here.
I welcome the new Senate bill’s inclusion of community-based support as an alternative to detention. Community-based support is a critical tool in the enforcement spectrum because it will promote integration and make our communities stronger. Of course, it always bears repeating that community-based programs should be used as an alternative to detention, not an alternative form of detention or custody.
I’m also excited by the way S.744, as the bill is called, expands the authority of officials within the immigration process to use alternatives based on individualized assessments. A broad spectrum of enforcement tools enables the government to supervise individuals who are awaiting decisions on their immigration applications in a manner that is more humane and cost-effective than detention alone. The dismantling of categorical mandates for detention, which create unjustified expenses and violate international law, is a smart fix for a broken enforcement system. S.744 is a step in the right direction, and therefore one we applaud.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to visit our Action Center or contacted their lawmakers by other means to call for fair and comprehensive immigration reform. While it is not perfect in every way, this bill is in many respects a victory for our work for alternatives to detention, and we’re grateful that you raised your voice. Please continue to do so in the weeks to come, because a House version of the bill is still in the works, and nothing is guaranteed!