Department of Homeland Security Must Protect Immigration Detainees
Today, advocates from around the country came together to demand safety for people held in U.S. immigration detention facilities. 35 organizations signed JDI's letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano, insisting that she recognize that national standards addressing sexual abuse in detention apply to immigration detention facilities, as well as prisons, jails, and youth facilities.
The standards, expected to be adopted by the U.S. Attorney General in early 2012, were developed under the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and were originally intended to apply to all detention facilities nationwide. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice's latest version of the standards, released last June, did not apply to immigration facilities -- in contradiction to the clear intent of PREA.
JDI and its allies, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Women's Refugee Commission, and many others, are now calling on Secretary Napolitano to support the application of the standards, and all of PREA's mandates, to all people behind bars. It is simply unacceptable that immigrant detainees -- most of whom have committed no crime -- should have less protection from sexual abuse than other inmates.
Find out more about sexual abuse in immigration detention facilities in JDI's latest article for The New York Review of Books Blog.
See JDI's letter to Secretary Napolitano here.