Thursday, February 25, 2010

National Campaign for Dignity, Not Detention

From Detention Watch Network:

Dear colleagues,
 
Today the Detention Watch Network launches its national campaign "Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights & Restoring Justice" to halt expansion of the U.S. immigration detention system and demand that immigrants are treated with full respect for their human rights and dignity. 
 
American ideals of democracy and liberty are built on the foundation of upholding due process and human rights for all people.  Contrary to these ideals, the U.S. government has created a climate of fear in our communities through the widespread abuse of power under the rapidly expanding immigration enforcement regime and the gross mistreatment of individuals held in detention.  At an annual cost of $1.7 billion, the government's use of misguided enforcement practices have resulted in more than 300,000 people detained each year under appalling conditions in unregulated detention facilities with limited or no access to lawyers, and without hope for a fair day in court.
  
While John Morton, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, the Department of Homeland Security agency which oversees immigration detention and deportation) announced last year that he plans to institute major reforms in the detention system, to date, advocates have seen little evidence of change, and human rights abuses continue to occur each day.
 
DWN members believe that now is the time to hold President Obama and DHS accountable for the promised reforms and to shift the debate in support of a more limited detention and enforcement system that protects due process of law and human rights.
 
Our campaign is a national effort to expose the profit-driven expansion of the detention system as a key contributor to the unprecedented number of immigrants held in immigration custody.  Starting with coordinated launch activities today, the campaign will support local members in Arizona, Georgia, and Texas throughout the year in their fight against expansion of interior enforcement programs and the detention system while coordinating national efforts to meet the Network's key demands.
 
Our demands:
 
We are demanding that President Obama put an end to human rights abuses in detention centers.

We are demanding that Congress restore due process to the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and guarantee that every person has the right to a fair day in court.

We are demanding that Secretary Napolitano stop expanding local enforcement programs that are contributing to the explosive growth of the detention system.

We are demanding that the U.S. government take action to prevent the arbitrary detention of more than 300,000 people each year and start using cost-saving alternatives.
  
As Americans, we have a responsibility to uphold our core values: dignity, human rights, and due process of law-- principles that are fundamental to a democracy.  All people, regardless of race or country of origin, deserve fair and equal treatment by the government.
 
We ask you to join us in our campaign. Please sign on to the campaign and go to the "Dignity, Not Detention" campaign website at www.dignitynotdetention.org to learn how you can get involved.
 
Take a stand to protect human rights and put an end to the expansion of the U.S. immigration detention system.  Together we can stop the human rights abuses occurring under the U.S. detention and enforcement regimes.
 
SAY YES TO DIGNITY!

bh

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