Who We Are

Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.

DWN Envisions:

  • A world without immigration detention where every individual lives freely.
  • A nation that fosters racial equality, values migration, and honors family unity.
  • A judicial system that promotes human rights and the dignity and due process rights of all persons.

DWN was founded in 1997 in response to the explosive growth of the immigration detention and deportation system in the United States. Today, DWN is the only national network that focuses exclusively on immigration detention and deportation issues. The Network is recognized as the “go-to” resource on detention issues by media and policymakers and known as a critical national advocate for just policies that promote an eventual end to immigration detention. As a member-led network, we unite diverse constituencies to advance the civil and human rights of those impacted by the immigration detention and deportation system through collective advocacy, public education, communications, and field-and-network-building.

DWN’s Core Principles:

  • We believe that immigration laws and policies should reflect international human rights standards and should be enforced in ways that respect the human dignity of all people.
  • We believe the struggle for immigrants’ rights is inseparable from the struggle for racial justice and that we must stand in solidarity with all communities of color impacted by immigration detention and enforcement.
  • We believe there are effective alternatives to the use of detention that help people resolve their immigration status in a just and fair way.
  • We stand in solidarity with all immigrants caught in the web of the immigration detention and enforcement system, and we seek to have each individual be treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • We believe in the power of inclusive, collective movements for social change and believe that by working together we can be more effective and efficient than as individuals or isolated organizations. 
  • We seek diverse leadership and membership, particularly from individuals most directly affected by the immigration detention and deportation system. 

Learn how to become a DWN Member.

Detention Watch Network is a fiscally-sponsored project of Tides Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and the nation's largest fiscal sponsor.