For Immediate Release // Excuse cross-posting
May 22, 2015
Contact: Olga Tomchin, (402) 650-2339,

Abolish Immigration Detention

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) welcomes the growing consensus that it is time to end the U.S.’s immoral immigration detention system. In just the last two weeks, House of Representatives members demanded for an immediate end to caging of refugee mothers and children, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley tweeted that “barbed wire detention camps… are cruel, costly & against our values,” Hillary Clinton called for an end to the detention of vulnerable people, and the New York Times declared that immigration detention be ended.

US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has failed to demonstrate a capacity for accountability, due process, access to justice, or human dignity. Community members detained by ICE frequently experience medical neglect, sexual abuse, and even torture in solitary confinement, often without access to legal assistance. Many are regularly transferred hundreds or thousands of miles from their families and support networks. Meanwhile, private prison companies make a profit from our loved ones’ suffering.

NDLON Deportation Defense Coordinator and Staff Attorney Olga Tomchin states, “It’s time to abolish the immigration detention and deportation machinery which deems certain lives and communities to be disposable. Cosmetic reforms are not acceptable. The President and Congress must end this shameful chapter of this country’s history. We reject the replacement of the violent system of incarceration with the degrading one of mass surveillance via ankle monitoring devices.”

Formerly detained people who are now immigrant rights organizers echo these sentiments.

Jonathan Perez of the Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained in a GEO Group immigration detention facility in Louisiana: “In detention, people are placed in a position of powerlessness with law enforcement. ICE and guards are given absolute power that only allows and encourages them to act out their racism, sexism, and transphobia without any consequences or repercussions.”

Luis Nolasco of the ACLU of Southern California and Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA): “Immigration Detention was a dehumanizing experience that continues to haunt me well after my release from a Georgia facility. What I experienced and saw was the embodiment of Human Misery & Death. The ways in which these facilities operate & function are designed to shut down the human spirit. Because once you go into immigration detention, a part of you dies forever. Physically, mentally or spiritually.”

Ishalaa Serrano of the Audre Lorde Project and Translatina Coalition who was detained by CCA in San Diego: “Respecting humanity is reason enough to end the immigration detention system. We cannot let the government put anyone else in such a tortuous, violent, hateful, racist, homophobic, and transphobic CAGE. I ran for my life and found myself in such a horrible place where I had to give up my freedom, pride, and dignity and could not even control when I used the bathroom.”

Victoria Villalba of Transcend Arizona who was detained in Santa Ana, CA and by CCA in San Diego: “Detention centers are an inhumane way to cover up rape, discrimination, transphobia, homophobia, racism and dehumanization of individuals who have already survived all of that and only want to be safe.”

Ricky González of Arcoiris Liberation Team who was detained at Florence Detention Center in Arizona: “Detention centers are centers of discrimination. They make money off of the people who are detained by paying them $1 per day for working.”

Alex Aldana of the Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained by CCA in San Diego: “ICE will never have the capacity to understand immigrants and refugees who are escaping murder and persecution. The hours I spent inside and the post-traumatic anxiety that I developed through being detained force me to relive many memories of how hard I have fought just to survive as a human being.”


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