The new Karnes County Civil Detention Center is a step forward in terms of the treatment of immigrant detainees, but alternatives to detention would be more humane and save taxpayers more money, say representatives of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) who toured the new facility on Tuesday.
“We welcome efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to improve detention conditions, but their plan to use the Karnes facility to lock up asylum seekers and low-risk detainees is not the solution,” said Eric B. Sigmon, LIRS Director for Advocacy. “We need alternatives to more taxpayer-funded jails for vulnerable migrants.”
“International human rights laws require that immigration detention be a last resort. And we know there are viable alternatives to detention,” said Sigmon. “We have a moral obligation not to lock up vulnerable immigrants who pose no risk.”
The LIRS report “Unlocking Liberty: A Way Forward for U.S. Immigration Detention Policy” maps out how the U.S. government can decrease its reliance on immigration detention by increasing its partnerships with non-profit organizations to implement cost-effective and humane alternatives to detention programs. The report documents successful programs run by non-profit organizations in collaboration with the federal government that provided legal and social services to asylum seekers and other immigrant populations.
Learn more about the alternatives to detention in the video below, and on the LIRS website, www.lirs.org/dignity.