Criminalization of Immigrants

The Obama administration is on pace to deport a record 400,000 immigrants in 2010. Although immigration violations involve administrative law rather than criminal law, many who are cited spend time in one of hundreds of privately-operated immigrant detention facilities.

Numerous abuses have been reported in these facilities, including a lack of access to health care for those with serious mental and physical health conditions, pregnant women being forced to give birth in shackles, and deaths from lack of medical treatment.

Individuals are often shipped to facilities far away from their home communities, separating them from both legal counsel and families, as many leave children behind. The alternatives to detention–such as ankle bracelets–yield a 93 percent court appearance rate, yet are underutilized.

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