CLINIC welcomes evaluation of private prison contractor use in immigration detention system

SILVER SPRING, MD—Yesterday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson directed the Homeland Security Advisory Council to evaluate whether DHS should stop contracting with private prisons for its immigrant detention facilities. Secretary Johnson’s directive follows the recent Department of Justice decision to end the use of for-profit prisons for Bureau of Prison facilities.

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) welcomes Secretary Johnson’s recent action and urges DHS to end its relationship with private prisons. CLINIC Executive Director Jeanne Atkinson stated, “We appreciate Secretary Johnson’s recent action to evaluate the use of private prison contractors. I call on him to lead DHS towards greater transparency and less reliance on such actors as well as a general reduction in the use of immigrant detention facilities.” Atkinson further added, “We hope that the Department of Homeland Security takes this moment to consider community-support-based alternatives to detention, which have proven to ensure compliance, be more respectful of human dignity and are often more cost efficient.”

Currently, DHS immigrant detention centers hold as many as 400,000 immigrants across the country, which annually costs over $2 billion each year to American taxpayers.

Since the mid-1990s, CLINIC has been assisting immigrant detainees, whether through legal orientation, pro bono placement, accompaniment or individual case advocacy. CLINIC proudly works to serve the detained. Recently, through the CARA Pro Bono project, CLINIC has worked to provide legal services to detained families in the family detention centers and lead national advocacy efforts to raise awareness about immigrant detention. CLINIC steadfastly continues to advocate that all detained men, women and children deserve to be treated humanely and be able to safely access protection and due process.

Source: Catholic Charities