Pramila Jayapal introduces legislation to reform immigration detention system

She also noted that these detainees include vulnerable populations

Pramila Jayapal

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), along with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), introduced a new bill Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act on Tuesday in an attempt to provide justice during a time of “broken immigration system” and “mass deportation”.

According to Jayapal, the new bill will ensure that justice is delivered to the immigrants in the detention centers and eliminates the trauma caused to them due to outrageous human rights abuse.

Jayapal in a Facebook post said detention centers make money based on the number of men, women, and children they detain—often under horrific conditions.

She added that the new act will address this issue specifically by restoring the due process to custody decisions, increasing oversight, accountability, and transparency and by establishing real alternatives to detention.

“The high moral cost of our inhumane immigration detention system is reprehensible. Large, private corporations operating detention centers are profiting off the suffering of men, women, and children. We need an overhaul,” said Jayapal.

“It’s clear that the Trump administration is dismantling the few protections in place for detained immigrants even as he ramps up enforcement against parents and vulnerable populations. This bill addresses the most egregious problems with our immigration detention system. It’s Congress’ responsibility to step up and pass this bill,” she added.

The highlights of the legislation include:

1)    Phases out for foreign prisoners in 3 years.

2)    Establishes cost-effective and humane alternatives to detention

3)    Create Standards to protect health and safety and a presumption of  release

4)    Mandates unannounced inspections and penalties for violence

5)    Requires transparent investigations of all deaths in custody

The act, in addition to repealing mandatory detention, also introduces inspection process at detention facilities to make sure that the centers meet the standard set by the government.

The bill proposes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a civil detention code that falls in line with those adopted by the American Bar Association, thus making sure that the detainees are treated with compassion and dignity.

While introducing the act, Jayapal said during the waiting period of their day in the court, detainees are treated by detention centers like prisoners. She also noted that these detainees include vulnerable populations, including pregnant women and people with serious medical and mental health issues.

“We must fix the injustices in our broken immigration detention system,” said Smith. “As the Trump administration continues to push a misguided and dangerous immigration agenda, we need to ensure fair treatment and due process for immigrants and refugees faced with detention. This legislation will address some of the worst failings of our immigration policy, and restore integrity and humanity to immigration proceedings.”

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