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For Immediate Release

Will Matthews, (212) 549-2582 or 2666;

ACLU Calls On ICE to Make Significant Reforms to Immigration Detention System

Newly Released Analysis Shows One Year After Pledging To Create "Truly Civil" System, Obama Administration Still Has Much Work o Do


year after the Obama administration pledged to create a "truly civil"
immigration detention system, the American Civil Liberties Union today
said that significant reforms still need to be made in order for that
promise to be realized.

While Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) has made some progress under the guidance of its
newly-established Office for Detention Policy and Planning, major
improvements in four vital detention areas - mental disability, health
care, sexual abuse and mandatory and prolonged detention - need to be
undertaken if ICE is to make good on the stated commitment of John T.
Morton, assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for
ICE, to address "the vast majority of complaints about ICE's immigration
detention system."

According to an analysis released
today by the ACLU, an over-reliance on mandatory and prolonged detention
practices continues to deny detainees the most basic element of due
process by incarcerating immigrants who pose no danger or flight risk
without making individualized determinations about whether they can be
released on bond. The level of medical and mental health care provided
to detainees continues to be substandard. Recently exposed incidents of
sexual abuse of detainees by ICE contractors illustrate an urgent need
for improved ICE oversight. And immigrants with mental disabilities,
many without the mental competency to represent themselves, languish in
detention for years.

The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, Legislative Counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"ICE deserves credit for having taken
some positive steps in what needs to be an ongoing process to reform
our immigration detention system. But there is still a great need for
enhanced oversight and accountability. ICE's model of self-policing has
proven, time and time again, to be a failure. In order to establish a
truly civil detention system, ICE must promulgate detention regulations
and be subject to independent external oversight."

The following can be attributed to Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director for the ACLU:

"While ICE has made some reforms in
its sprawling detention system over the past year, they are
insufficient. ICE detainees around the country continue to be subject to
poor medical and mental health care, prolonged detention, and sexual
abuse and assault. True detention reform requires that ICE address these
systemic problems while cutting back on its excessive reliance on
detention without due process, particularly of individuals who pose no
flight risk or danger to public safety."

A copy of the ACLU's analysis is available online at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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