S. Leigh Thompson
Racial profiling and detention of immigrants continues to increase over the years, supported by enforcement policies that are funneling people into detention and deportation in unprecedented numbers. According to the Detention Watch Network (DWN), under current U.S. immigration law, over 200,000 immigrants are imprisoned every year during their deportation hearings without any individual assessment of their risk to public safety or their vulnerability in detention. Migrants are dehumanized as “illegals” and then caught up in a system that criminalizes them and defines them as “criminal aliens.” With that understanding people are denied due process within the current immigration system. In this system, legal representation is not provided and mandatory detention makes it even more difficult for people to find the necessary resources to fight their case.
Alongside many organizational partners, DWN is advocating for humane reform and working to educate the public and policy makers through the recently launched Dignity, Not Detention campaign. The campaign calls for the restoration of fundamental human rights and due process in the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system.
Immigration policies require whole categories of non-citizens to be imprisoned without any individual assessment of their risk to public safety or flight or of their vulnerability in detention while the government tries to prove that it has the authority to deport them (DWN Facts).
In the touching campaign video above, DWN members comprised of migrants, advocates, journalists and attorneys, hold signs expressing several ways in which mandatory detention is destructive and dehumanizing, but they also share their vision for a brighter world. What is your vision of a world where immigrants are treated with dignity and respect? Let us know in the comments!