As a welcome change from the restrictive environment immigrants have had to endure, the U.S. agrees on less jail-like facilities for detained immigrants.

Date: June 17, 2010

The United States has agreed to re-design certain detention facilities that house immigrants awaiting immigration hearings or political asylum interviews so that they feel less like they are in jail or prison. Many of the facilities are now like medium security jails making immigrants with no criminal history feel like they are being sentenced for a crime.

This comes after immigrants advocacy groups have complained about the conditions under which immigrants have endured while detained and awaiting deportation hearings. It is a welcome change from the restrictive and punitive environment that immigrants have had to endure. Of course, an even better solution is non-custodial alternatives like bond, or an electronic monitoring program. These options exist but many are still physically detained while their families suffer both emotionally and economically.

We’ve seen families lose their home and life savings because the primary income earner is detained in an immigration facility while awaiting his or her day in court. The move towards conditional release of all non-criminal detained immigrants is a necessary next step.

To read the Miami Herald article about this, click here.