Detention and Deportation Consequences of Arizona Immigration Law (SB 1070)

Why is Arizona SB 1070 a problem?

  • SB 1070 unlawfully gives state and local police the power to engage in a broad range of immigration enforcement actions that are, and should remain, a federal responsibility.

  • Arizona’s use of widespread arrests and raids have torn apart families and jailed people in unsafe and inhumane conditions. These practices strike a blow to our nation’s values of upholding due process and human rights, and do not make Arizona safer.

  • SB 1070 increases the likelihood of arbitrary arrest and detention. It is directly at odds with the United States’ obligations under the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law.

  • SB1070 requires police to demand documentation from anyone they stop whom they suspect is in the country illegally. U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike will be required to carry papers on them at all times and will be forced to "show their papers" simply for looking or sounding "foreign”. These tactics are the hallmarks of a “police state,” more often associated with totalitarian regimes.

  • ICE has relied on local police, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to meet its goal to detain hundreds of thousands of immigrants. This has led to the detention of more than 380,000 people in FY 2009 in unsafe and inhumane conditions with no meaningful access to lawyers or hope for a fair day in court. It has also resulted in the deportation of 387,000 people, tearing apart countless families. SB 1070 will be effective at one thing: continuing to fill Arpaio’s jails and driving the growth of the detention industry across the country.

  • SB 1070 will result in unlawful arrests and mass incarceration of immigrants, driving up profits for the private prison industry at our communities’ expense. The federal government must act to protect Arizona residents from SB 1070 and break the “desert to prison” pipeline.

  • By taking on ICE’s job of enforcing immigration law, local police sabotage their core mission of protecting public safety by undermining the trust of the communities they serve. It discourages people from turning to the police when they need to, even to report crimes. It undermines public safety by diverting scarce resources away from local policing and focuses them on false threats from people who look or sound "foreign."

  • Under Arizona’s new police state all Arizona residents— citizens and noncitizens alike — will be harassed and discriminated against as they simply try to live their lives and take care of their families. People will be unlawfully detained and deported. Once someone is caught up in ICE’s web, it's nearly impossible to get out — even if someone is in the country legally. Families sometimes never find their loved ones. The people detained are often quickly forced or pressured to leave the U.S. Whether they are 85 or 13, they can be jailed for days, weeks, months, sometimes years, put on a prison bus and dropped off across the border without ever seeing a lawyer or talking to their families. This is not what our country stands for.

  • This radical law puts Arizona completely out of step with American values of fairness and equality. In a state where U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were interned during World War II, it is deeply troubling that a law that would invite racial profiling of people of color and subject more people to harsh detention conditions could pass in 2010.

  • American ideals of democracy and liberty are built on the foundation that all people, regardless of race or country of origin, deserve fair and equal treatment by the government.

Solutions to the Problem:

  • President Obama must publicly oppose and terminate all programs setting up partnerships between local police and ICE.

  • President Obama must reassert federal control over immigration law. Programs such as the highly criticized 287(g) program, which was recently the subject of a scathing report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG), have created an environment where laws like SB 1070 can flourish making it clear that local police should have no role in enforcing federal immigration law.

  • President Obama must call for immediate reforms to ensure the safety and well-being of those in immigration custody, including enforceable standards governing detention conditions, with meaningful independent oversight of Department of Homeland Security and the creation of cost-effective community-based alternatives to detention.

Facts about Detention

  • Since 2005, ICE has increased the number of detention beds by 78 percent. Taxpayers are paying the price of DHS’s skyrocketing use of immigration detention. DHS spends $1.7 billion on ICE custody operations.

  • Alternatives to detention, are effective and significantly cheaper, with some programs costing as little as $12 per day. These alternatives to detention still yield an estimated 93% appearance rate before the immigration courts.

  • ICE reports that 111 people have died while in immigration custody since 2003.

  • People in immigrant detention are awaiting a decision on their immigration proceedings. They are not serving criminal sentences.

  • Several government reports including reports by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have highlighted mistreatment and abuse of ICE detainees. The reports find that detainees are frequently denied necessary medical care, visitation, legal materials, functioning telephones, and access to counsel.

  • Joe Arpaio isn’t the only person getting rich from the detention of immigrants. The private prison industry has long relied on immigrant detention to grow their business. Just after the attacks of 9/11, the chairman of Cornell Companies – a mid-sized private prison company based in Houston, Texas –told stock analysts: “It is clear that since September 11 there’s a heightened focus on detention. More people are going to get caught. So I would say that’s positive. The federal business is the best business for us, and September 11 is increasing that business.”