Amnesty International’s research found immigrants including asylum seekers fleeing torture and human trafficking are being unjustly detained in the U.S. immigration detention system. Those in most dire need face a broken and cruel system of detention, instead of having their cases properly reviewed. Some fleeing abusive countries even consider going back to escape U.S. detention.
Mr. N, a Buddhist monk, fled to the U.S. after he was tortured in Tibet for his religious beliefs. When he arrived in New York, he was immediately detained and never had a chance to argue for his case before a judge. After 10 months in detention, he was finally granted asylum. Tragically, Mr. N’s story is just one of many in the new AI report.
In the report, Jailed without Justice, AI researchers found:
- Lawful permanent residents, asylum seekers, and survivors of torture are being detained while they fight for protection.
- US citizens and lawful permanent residents can be detained for years without any review of their custody.
- Meaningful oversight and accountability for abuse or neglect in detention is almost nonexistent.
- Individuals in detention often lack treatment for their medical needs and 74 people have died while in immigration detention over the past five years.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could issue new regulations that would quickly solve many of these problems. But instead, just three weeks ago, the office in charge of these policies testified before Congress that it plans to detain almost a hundred thousand more immigrants this year than last.
Although AIUSA is working with members in both the Senate and House on legislation to permanently fix the problems, innocent people are suffering today, and need help now. DHS should not delay implementing change while U.S. citizens, asylum seekers and survivors of torture are being wrongly detained and treated like criminals without any meaningful legal recourse. Please sign the AIUSA letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging her to fix this broken, unjust detention system.