Earlier this week, Pulaski County in Illinois gave notice that it will no longer detain people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in the Pulaski County Jail. Fifty-five community organizations, social services, and legal service providers are demanding that the Biden administration urgently release people from the jail, rather than transfer them to other detention centers.
In a letter to the administration, the groups welcome the decision to no longer detain people for ICE in the county jail, which is marred with systemic abuse and dangerous conditions, and urge ICE not to transfer people to other detention centers where they risk facing more abuse further away from legal representation and their families.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the authority to immediately release every person held in ICE custody in the Pulaski County Jail. The use of such discretion is particularly appropriate as local governments decide to end their detention contracts with ICE, and DHS is reviewing the detention system with an eye towards closing down facilities.
Everyone in ICE detention in Pulaski should be permitted to live in the safety of their homes and communities while navigating their court proceedings. The people detained at Pulaski have endured hardships because of the terrible conditions they have experienced in the jail, which continue to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they should be able to reside with their loved ones and communities while they continue fighting their immigration cases. The letter emphasizes that a robust network of legal and social service providers throughout Illinois stand ready to support them in doing so.