Dignity, Not Detention


On Monday, October 16, OneAmerica proudly stood  with United States Representatives Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal, former OneAmerica Executive Director, in support of the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act.  The legislative proposal sets a new marker in Congress for a more humane vision for America’s deeply flawed and dehumanizing immigrant detention system.  And just as important, it reflects strong alignment among immigrant advocates and advocates fighting to end the mass incarceration of African Americans and other people of color who are fighting to ensure that massive corporations will not profit from the misery of family and community members in detention.

See coverage of this amazing new bill from The Stranger, Seattle Weekly, and NBC news.

This announcement was made all the more timely given recent news of the Trump Administration’s intent to invest billions in new immigrant detention centers across the United States.

The bill, which has more than 60 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, would do the following if passed:

  • Establishes enforceable standards for the treatment of individuals in detention facilities
  • Requires greater oversite and accountability over the immigrant detention system, including surprise inspections
  • Requires investigations of deaths in detention and mandates greater transparency in the detention system
  • Phases out the use of privately owned and operated detention facilities over a three year period
  • Requires DHS to obtain a warrant from an immigration judge in order to apprehend an individual
  • Ends mandatory detention, and requires judges to consider an individual’s ability to pay when setting bond, and establishes a presumption of release
  • Applies the use of the least restrictive option to individuals in DHS custody and invests in alternatives to detention programs

Statement by Yvette Maganya, OneAmerica youth leader and the niece of a survivor of the Northwest Detention Center: 
“The immigrant detention and prison industrial complex breaks down the mental, emotional, and psychosocial development of our communities in various ways. I saw this firsthand when my family member was detained. I believe the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act provides transformative provisions that we have been working toward, to move the immigrant rights movement forward. “I’ve seen the toll detention conditions have in our community. Our communities are being jailed in inhumane conditions with no accountability. Often they are jailed not because of what they did, but to fulfill cruel, arbitrary quotas. It is wrong to jail immigrants indefinitely with no accountability or oversight. This is why we need the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act.”

Statement by Roxana Norouzi, Deputy Director of OneAmerica: “Today, we’re facing an extremist expansion of our immigration detention system, which makes the Dignity for Detained Immigrants bill even more imperative. We have continually seen the ways in which conditions in the detention center and the traumatic experience of being detained deters people from fighting their cases. We stand in strong support of this important piece of legislation that sets a new, humane vision to reform our flawed immigration detention system.”

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