The Trump administration is grossly obsessed with incarceration

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, June 22, 2018

Los Angeles, California — In a week dominated by news of cruel family separation and an executive order that double downs on Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist agenda by increasing the widely denounced policy of family detention, immigrant rights advocates look to amplify a key driver of Trump’s evil practices: incarceration.

“Trump created the crisis at the border with the primary goal to ruthlessly lock up as many people as possible and to make the case for immigrant detention expansion,” said Maru Mora Villalpando with the NWDC Resistance. “And now with the executive order combined with the announcement earlier this month to transfer people detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to federal prisons operated by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) we are seeing the great lengths that this administration will go to separate loved ones and put people behind bars.”

The federal budget for fiscal year 2019 is currently being debated by Congress and Trump is requesting an additional 12,000 detention beds. The expansion to BOP facilities will only bolster the administration’s efforts to appropriate more funds for the abusive and deadly immigration detention system.

“The insidious arrangement between ICE and BOP demonstrates Trump’s obsession with incarceration,” said Luis Suarez, Policy and Campaigns Coordinator with the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ). “Whether called ‘detention center,’ ‘jail,’ or ‘prison,’ these systems share the same unjust design: to incarcerate black and brown people and strip them of their dignity.”

"Policies such as these are deliberate moves on the part of this administration to deter migration," said Lourdes Ortiz, member of the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee. "If months from now the administration claims that more people have been breaking the law, we cannot forget that it’s policies like these that lead to such self-fulfilling prophecies. It is a vicious cycle: no matter what they do, people will be punished one way or another, and they are forced to make impossible decisions."

This administration’s reliance on incarceration is not a new phenomenon, but rather a continuation of unjust policies that target black and brown people and criminalize communities at large.

“The unjust and inhumane policies bolstered and furthered by the current administration are rooted in criminalizing immigration,” said Fernando Garcia, Executive Director with Border Network for Human Rights. “From Operation Streamline to today’s so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, these policies aim to punish immigrants, tear apart their families and communities, dehumanize them, and put them behind bars.”

"From rural communities like ours to cities to every corner of the country, the community demand is clear: stop terrorizing immigrants," said Cara Shufelt of the Rural Organizing Project. "ICE's track record of abuse is long-standing, overwhelming and well-documented. For far too long, our representatives have said they care about our communities while simultaneously funding ICE, our elected officials can no longer remain silent — they need to defund ICE."

With the United States government maintaining the world’s largest immigration detention system and the Trump administration only looking to increase the numbers, advocates are demanding that the Members of Congress defund the detention and deportation system as a pathway to get to the larger goal of ending the U.S.’s reliance on incarceration. 

“The firestorm of outrage must continue,” said Barbara Suarez Galeano, Organizer, Detention Watch Network. “People should not be in detention. People should have the right to move and live freely, in community and with their family, without fear of being separated from their loved ones or displaced from their home.”

NWDC Resistance, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Border Network for Human Rights, Detention Watch Network, Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee and the Rural Organizing Project are fighting back against the ICE and BOP agreement and immigration enforcement system at large with an #EndFamilyDetention Rally on June 30th in Ontario, California. Event details can be found here:


NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance supports people detained who organize hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.

The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice is dedicated to convening organizations to collectively advocate and work to improve the lives of immigrant communities while working toward a just solution to the immigration system.

Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), founded in 1998, is one of the leading human rights advocacy and immigration reform organizations located at the U.S./Mexico Border. BNHR has over 7,000 members in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.

Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee (DMSC) is a collective in El Paso, TX that fights for cross border communities free of militarization, criminalization, and mass incarceration by organizing, educating, and acting for more humane practices around migrants and the end of migrant detention. DMSC is a member of Detention Watch Network. Follow on Facebook @DetainedMigrantSolidarityCommitteeEPTX or on Twitter @DMSCElPaso

Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit

Rural Organizing Project (ROP) is a statewide organization of locally-based groups in Oregon that work to create communities accountable to a standard of human dignity: the belief in the equal worth of all people, the need for equal access to justice and the right to self-determination. ROP and our 75 member groups across rural Oregon are working to end all forms of detention and deportation.