Bishops Call For Alternatives to Detention in Immigration Enforcement

The Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a report in cooperation with the Center for Migration Studies calling for the use of alternatives to detention when dealing with undocumented immigrants and refugees fleeing their countries because of terrorism or deep poverty. According to the report, detentions rose dramatically from 1994 to 2013. During these years the average daily detention rose from 6,785 to 34,260.

The report indicates that “[w]ell-managed programs have proven effective in ensuring high [court] appearance rates at far less cost…” The two common alternatives to detention are electronic monitoring or case management with community support. The report recommends greater use of alternatives, especially those involving local communities and case management.

The opening letter of the report from the Migration and Refugee Services recalls the migratory status of the Holy Family and calls for compassionate approaches to the problems related to immigration.

In preparing the report, visits were made to detention centers in Texas, California, Illinois, Arizona and New Jersey. Although some improvements in living conditions and processing of immigrants have occurred in recent years, the report calls for deeper and more comprehensive reforms. To read the full report, see Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System.

 

Posted: May 29, 2015

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