Mazie Hirono, Tammy Duckworth, and Cory Booker Join Coalition of Senators to Intro Bill Targeting Family Detention Centers
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) on Thursday introduced a bill targeting family detention and the harsh and inhumane conditions of immigration detention centers that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to house thousands of immigrants. They are joined in the effort by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The bill is a Senate companion to a House bill introduced in October by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA). The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act would significantly restrict family detention, preventing the federal government from expending resources to detain immigrants except in instances where immigrants pose a flight risk or a risk to public safety. The bill also ends the use of private prisons to detain immigrants, sets humane standards for detention facilities, strengthens the inspection and monitoring of facilities in order to crack down on abuses, and better protects the civil rights of immigrant detainees. Booker stated, “America is at its best when we welcome immigrants fleeing oppression, famine, or injustice. Yes, our borders must be secure, but our immigration policies also need to reflect our American values.” Hirono added, “People coming to this country, fleeing violence, and looking for a better life must be treated humanely.” And Duckworth weighed in saying, “It is unacceptable that not only has the Trump administration spent weeks ripping children away from their parents, but they have also forced children and families into inhumane and shameful detention camps. Our bill will hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable and ensure immigrant and refugee families are treated humanely and no longer torn apart or indefinitely detained.” More here.