WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, Axios reported that the Biden administration is planning an expanded home confinement and curfew pilot program for immigrants seeking asylum or other protection in the U.S. immigration courts.
In response to the reporting from Axios, National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), Detention Watch Network, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Human Rights First (HRF), Community Change Action, and FIRM Action issued the following statement:
The Biden administration betrayed promises to immigrant communities yet again this week, with news of an imminent pilot program to experiment with even “stricter” monitoring than immigration surveillance programs already in use. The pilot would include a regime of house arrest, curfews, and electronic monitoring for 164,000 people. Though framed as an “alternative-to-detention,” we have no reason to believe this harsh “e-incarceration” program would decrease the number of detention centers or the number of people detained in them. In fact, it would newly place hundreds of thousands of people under ICE’s control. It also goes directly against what the immigrant rights movement has demanded: an end to immigration detention in its entirety.
Make no mistake: surveillance technology expands the carceral state and inevitably reinforces patterns of oppression. The ICE proposal is part of an alarming trend across the country of expanded surveillance of Black and brown communities under the guise of public safety, a trend that Michelle Alexander has called “the newest Jim Crow.” Moreover, reports have already shown that immigrants subject to e-incarceration, including the use of GPS-enabled ankle monitors, experience serious harm to their physical and mental health; lose access to vital economic opportunities for extended periods of time; and remain at risk of sudden incarceration in a detention facility.
This new e-incarceration program would replicate the perverse incentives of private prisons by funneling millions of federal dollars to private companies to provide the surveillance devices. We will only see the same ugly cycle repeat, with those private companies once again lobbying for punitive and dehumanizing policies in order to increase their profit margin.
President Biden campaigned on a promise of reducing detention and ending private prisons—which include immigration detention centers—but thus far has failed. The number of people in immigration detention has instead increased since he took office. Biden must live up to his promises and move swiftly to phase out the use of immigration detention, not increase the number of people living under ICE’s thumb.
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG utilizes impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to pursue its mission. Learn more at nipnlg.org. Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.
National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org and follow @NIJC on Twitter.
BAJI was founded in April 2006 and is a racial justice and immigrant rights organization with offices in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, and DC, and members across the country. BAJI educates and engages African American and Black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social, and economic justice. Visit baji.org and follow on Twitter @BAJItweet.
Human Rights First is a non-governmental organization established in 1978 that works to ensure U.S. leadership on human rights globally and compliance domestically with this country’s human rights commitments. Human Rights First operates one of the largest U.S. programs for pro bono legal representation of refugees, working in partnership with volunteer lawyers at leading law firms to provide legal representation without charge to indigent asylum applicants, including some detained in immigration detention facilities across the United States. To learn more, visit www.humanrightsfirst.org or follow us on Twitter: @humanrights1st Instagram: @humanrightsfirst
Community Change Action is a national social justice organization that builds the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change the policies and institutions that impact their lives.
The FIRM Action network is the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition with 27 affiliates, and four national organizing networks in 30 states, fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state, and federal level. FIRM Action is powered by Community Change Action.
Arianna Rosales, National Immigration Project, email@example.com, (202) 524-9121
Tara Tidwell Cullen, NIJC, firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 833-2967
Michelle Boykins, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, email@example.com, (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144