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  2. Immigrants & Refugees

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act: Bill Analysis

January 7, 2019


FCNL’s immigration advocacy prioritizes reforming immigrant detention in order to limit its use and improve existing conditions. Here is a look at how the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act addresses our concerns. FCNL urges its reintroduction and passage.

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, introduced by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) in the 115th Congress, eliminates our nation’s dependence on unjust immigrant detention and improves conditions for detained immigrants. The bill promotes a comprehensive shift from punitive incarceration towards non-restrictive alternatives to immigrant detention.

Substantial immigrant detention reforms are essential to creating a just immigration system that respects the dignity of every person. The U.S. immigration detention system has grown into a sprawling network of more than 200 facilities across the country with inadequate oversight, accountability, and transparency. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains more than 40,000 individuals each day within this enormous, profit-driven detention system.

H.R. 3923 (note: bill number will change upon re-introduction) eliminates the profit motive for needlessly locking immigrants up and makes it harder for ICE to carelessly detain people. It repeals mandatory detention and directs that detention to be used only as a last resort.

As guided by Quaker values, FCNL advocates for U.S. immigration policies that protect and promote the rights, safety, and dignity of all people. We affirm the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act as a step toward realizing this goal.

Our Approach to Detention Reform

The toll that incarceration takes on those detained, their families, and our communities is a confirmed injustice. This is how the bill aligns with FCNL’s views on how to shape a just immigration system.

FCNL Detention Principles as Compared to Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act

An Important Step

In the 115th Congress, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act garnered 117 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and more than 130 organizational endorsements. FCNL is pressing Congress to pass legislation like this bill that respects the dignity and rights of all human beings, including immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

The bill will move the immigration narrative away from criminalizing migrants and towards one of welcoming compassion. We envision policies that protect the safety of all communities and bring people together rather than tearing us apart.